The Polar Bears Go Up review at Unicorn Theatre, London – ‘a sense of wonder’

Eilidh MacAkill, Fiona Manson in The Polar Bears Go up at Unicorn theatre, London. Photo: Richard Davenport
Eilidh MacAkill, Fiona Manson in The Polar Bears Go up at Unicorn theatre, London. Photo: Richard Davenport

If you have a toddler you might find yourself surprised by what captures their interest: dinosaurs, rockets, talking pigs seem to be the new generations’ baffling favourites. Judging by the reception of Fish and Game’s recent work, polar bears are not far off either.

In the follow up to their previous hit, The Polar Bears Go Wild, MacAskill and Manson have devised a new exciting adventure for their two feisty heroes. We don’t know their names and they don’t even say a word for the entire show, but they have winning smiles, and somehow, by stealth you find yourself in their thrall even if you happen to be a sleep-deprived adult. The piece, aimed at two to five year-olds, abounds in the kind of humour that, at times, only toddlers seem to understand; it is delightful without being twee, dynamic and engaging without ever being loud, and imaginative without being far-fetched. Quite simply, it combines thoughtful attention to detail with some gentle clowning in order to stimulate and entertain.

Theatrically too, the world of the piece evokes the Arctic without ever feeling too cold. The blue and the white colours of the set only serve to enhance the alluring effect of the one key image which serves to prompt the Bears’ quest – a shining star. Though it does not have ground-breaking ambitions, the show excels in many ways. Its wonderful simplicity keeps even the youngest audience members engaged (in case you need to take the younger sibling along) – all this and it has rockets too.

Verdict
Stealthily enthralling adventure delivered with charm, wit and a sense of wonder
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