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Yellow Is the Colour of Sunshine review at Astley Cheetham Art Gallery – ‘gentle show about friendship’

Tutti Frutti's Yellow Is the Colour of Sunshine

Fittingly for a play about the importance of effective communication, Yellow Is the Colour of Sunshine seamlessly fuses music, movement, sign language and the spoken word to convey the characters’ emotions.

A touring production for young children by Leeds-based Tutti Frutti, written by Brendan Murray, it tells the story of demonstrative Hani (an enthusiastic Phoebe Stapleton) and subdued Yoshi (sensitively performed by Connor Bryson), who form an unlikely bond.

The show charts the journey of Hani and Yoshi’s friendship. The pair fall out and reconcile, and through this they learn the value of empathy, compromise and mutual understanding.

Though the pacing is slow and there is little narrative intrigue, Wendy Harris’ production remains engaging. The Japanese-inspired set design by Kate Bunce, with its climbable geometric shapes, allows for movement on different levels.

Holly Irving moves beautifully in a range of supporting roles, playing the sky, a kite and a magpie, using materials to create a vibrant sensory experience, especially for children sitting close to the stage area. The original score, by Christella Litras, works in tandem with the coloured lighting to convey the prevailing mood simply; drums thud and everything turns red as Hani rages, while serene woodwind notes and sunlight abound when happiness is restored.

The most exquisite moments are those in which concepts come to life without the need for words, such as when Hani is suspended in a billowing sea of loneliness and all three performers don sparkly gloves to portray a celebratory firework display.

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Gentle and well-conceived touring show that explains feelings and friendship to a young audience