Simplicity is the key to Grinagog’s tale of three slightly gormless cooks plagued by a cheeky mouse who steals their specially ordered three-tier cake out from under their noses.
Repetition, mistaken identity and basic slapstick silliness ensure that the target audience of three to seven-year-olds – particularly those at the lower end of that range – are fully engaged.
From the way they don their aprons at the start of the day to their final exit to bed, Becki Gerrard, Alasdair Hankinson and Sita Pieraccini bring a solid combination of exaggerated clowning movement and simple wonder to their performances.
These are not quite purely physical performances, although they would be equally as transparent to those speaking any language (or none). There’s some basic vocalisation and Oliver Searle’s simple jazzy tunes push forward the creation of a new cake every time it is stolen.
There is also enough happening on stage, and enough nuance designed into Ali Maclaurin’s set, for the emphasis to be changed according to the age and make-up of the audience.
The mostly three-year-old audience among which this reviewer saw the production made little of a cheese-grater element to the elaborate mousetrap. But an older audience could easily have appreciated its scratchy-bottom implications.
There is room for the performers to moderate their performances, not least in the delightful interactive session which rounds the piece off as the mouse and her family, reconciled with the bakers, get to meet the public.