Flutter (4 stars)


Short but sweet show from Tortoise in a Nutshell takes little ones into a snowy landscape

First seen last year as the Christmas show at Aberdeen's Lemon Tree Studio, Flutter is a delicate and necessarily slight show aimed at children aged 2–6, co-produced by Tortoise in a Nutshell and Aberdeen Performing Arts' Freshly Squeezed Productions. The apparent simplicity of what's happening onstage shouldn't be mistaken for a lack of complexity, however; the show is perfectly pitched as a cosy and friendly sensory experience for the tiny but receptive minds of its intended audience.

The cast are actors Christie Mitchell and Arran Howie, playing two friends who embark on an adventure through a slippy, snowy landscape – but the star of the show is Filip, the puppet penguin who pecks his way out of his icy shelter and joins in with the pair.

The set, a bright white array of balance beams, troughs of readily sprinkled and thrown fake snow, and a hidden musical band of woodland creatures, has been designed by Howie to include plenty to see and discover as the show progresses.

Under the direction of Matt Addicott and with a gentle soundtrack from Jim Harbourne, the seasonal sweetness of the show doesn't distract from its winning sense of mischief, particularly once Filip makes an appearance. The fifty-minute running time includes approximately thirty-five for the show and the rest for the children to explore the set, meet Filip and talk to the cast, but this latter element is very welcome, a bit of Fourth Wall-crossing immersions which at once demystifies the theatrical experience and makes Filip's world seem even more real.

Seen at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh. Touring to Platform, Glasgow, Sat 1–Wed 5 Dec; Lyth Arts Centre, Caithness, Sat 8–Fri 14 Dec; Dundee Rep Theatre, Tue 18–Sat 22 Dec.


Immersive multi-sensory performance about the magical world of winter for kids aged 2–6 that combines puppetry, music and visuals.