Ellie Dubois and Kim Donohoe’s new circus show for babies is a delight. From start to finish, it’s a gentle but hugely engaging series of skills, tricks and tumbles, which has its tiny audience members bright-eyed and itching to join in.
There’s a dotted line separating the performance space from the audience’s brightly coloured cushions (design by Becky Minto) and the more mobile babies are desperately toeing it, squawking and straining to be allowed to join in with the captivating performers. All four – Arron Sparks, Gabrielle Cook, Nat Whittingham and Kim Donohoe – are impressive both in their circus skills and their baby-enchanting ones.
It’s a particularly nice touch that they all stay and play with the babies at the end of the show.
My 10-month-old stood transfixed throughout the show, bouncing and pointing, completely entranced by the tumbling, juggling, gentle silliness and sweet skits. Minto’s design puts the audience and performers inside a miniature circus tent – a Little Top – and the swirling light patterns are particularly enjoyable for the babies.
As with Dubois’ No Show, there’s something fascinating about seeing circus skills close up – the effort that goes into making things look effortless is clearer when you’re sitting six inches away.
The charm and humour of the cast, combined with the sweet narrative threads and clever choreography, make this a wonderful 45 minutes for babies and adults alike.