Eddie and the Slumber Sisters review at Corn Exchange, Haddington – ‘imaginative children’s theatre’
Children’s theatre company Catherine Wheels has never shied away from tackling big issues. In this immersive co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland the company’s artistic director Gill Robertson has surpassed herself.
Elvis-loving Eddie’s gran died six weeks ago. She’s been having nightmares ever since, but now they are off-the-scale and it’s time to call in the very best in nightmare control: the Slumber Sisters.
Karen Tennent’s set, suitable for touring to school and village halls, puts the eight-years and over audience at the heart of Slumber HQ. The trio of vocal harmonising Slumber Sisters peer down into people’s dreams, shepherding them away from nightmare into sweet sleep.
The trio, led by Natalie Arle-Toyne’s stiff, slightly formal Penelope, provide genuinely spine-tingling vocals. Alongside her Colette Dalal Tchantcho plays the freewheeling Augusta and India Shaw-Smith plays inquisitive Robin. They are all strong, rounded characters, who break the rules to appear at the bedside of Chiara Sparkes’ troubled Eddie.
Danny Krass’ sound design and Lizzie Powell’s lighting design ensure that the story progresses smoothly, while Anita Vettesse’s script bounces along, giving the trio space to interact with audience members and draw them ever deeper into the narrative.
This show is a pearl among children’s theatre, excelling in every area from the performances to the detailed design to the technical presentation. It feels like the first of many potential stories of the Slumber Sisters’ adventures into a succession of troubled dreamworlds.