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Underneath the Floorboards

Published Wednesday 26 January 2011 at 17:04 by Laura Fraine

Liv Lorent could bottle and sell her treatment for under-fives with the added inscription - this really works.

Ballet Lorent has produced for families before, namely with the successful Angelmoth, but in aiming this production squarely at the pre-school audience she has addressed the issue of how on earth you get young children to sit through a 45 minute piece. The answer is you don’t.

We enter a studio space filled with cushions and beanbags on one side and a set of oversized boxes on the other. The children are encouraged to play in the stage area and Jon Beney, a little boy (John) who is packing up his toys to move house, plays alongside them. So begins the performance. The children are very much involved and apparently have no idea they are the audience, the added bonus being that parents enjoy watching their offspring onstage as much as they like not having to coerce them into their seats.

There are shrieks of delight as John discovers the bottomless box that leads him underneath the floorboards. Here, a strange and magical world awaits. Fawn, the gentle doe-eyed Gwen Berwick with ballet shoes on her hands and feet and Guffy (Gavin Coward), a friendly blue bundle of fluff, help John find his way back to his bedroom on a journey through starlit tunnels, the valley of lost toys and a bottom-burning dance on the hot pipes. But the star is the ethereal yet punky Mimic (Philippa White), a raggle-taggle birdlike creature that copies the actions of both dancers and children. Young children will go home feeling that dance is wild and mysterious, but certainly not girly.

Production information

Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne, January 25-26, then at Gateshead Old Town Hall January 27-28

Ben Crompton
Liv Lorent
Ballet Lorent, Northern Stage
Cast includes:
Jon Beney, Gwen Berwick, Gavin Coward, Philippa White
Running time:
45 minutes

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014