After a couple of phenomenal outings earlier this month, we continued our excursions to the theatre with another spectacular family show. The setting this time was the Waterside Arts Centre and the production was Moominland Midwinter.
Based on the book by Tove Jansson, it uses beautifully hand-crafted puppets to narrate the story of little Moomintroll and his adventures in the cold and dark of winter.
Moonintroll wakes up early from hibernation and cannot go back to sleep. While his Mama and Papa are still asleep, Moomintroll sets off to explore Moominland. But nothing is as he remembers; winter has changed everything. Poor Moomintroll is lonely, confused and worried as he wanders through Moominland Midwinter. He encounters some strange and wonderful characters along the way. Little My, Squirrel, The Lady of the Cold, Hemulen and a host of others keep him and the audience entertained.
I might be reading too much into the storyline, but to me it felt that the story was one of emotional turmoil in the face of unfamiliar surroundings. It was about seeking solace in times of distress and of staying true to yourself and to your friends. The story was a reflection of every child's worst nightmare - of being stranded in unfamiliar territory with no parental support at hand.
There were moments of hilarity especially when Little My and the small Troll were on stage. The Squirrel raised a laugh as well. And there were a couple of terrifying scenes that had some of the younger members of the audience in tears. J, thankfully, remained unperturbed.
The puppetry was nothing short of masterful. The skill of the puppeteers is highly commendable, especially as they are multitasking throughout the production. It is no mean feat to manipulate a puppet while running/scampering on knees/dancing, and mouthing your dialogues at the same time.
The props and sets were used to tremendous effect, particularly in the sledging and ice-skating scenes.
All in all, packed full of music, drama and endearing antics, Moominland Midwinter made for an entertaining hour and 40 minutes' viewing.
The success of our first theatre outing to the Waterside has us excited as we look forward to many more adventures there. I hope to be able to report similar success stories from that venue in the future.