WhirlyGig (4 stars)


credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Live music and physical theatre combine in this clever and enjoyable new show for families

Curious whispers echo around the auditorium before the performers even arrive on stage. What, we all wonder, are those chalk outlines on the floor – and which items belong there?

We know the outlines are destined for a musical hook-up because of the more obvious ones: the shapes of a trumpet, guitar and drum stick are all easily identifiable. The rest are anyone's guess.

Happily, multi-talented musicians Sita Pieraccini, Rory Clark, Rory Haye and Claire Willoughby arrive in colourful costumes to fill us (and the gaps) in. Armed with more instruments than most of the young audience even knew existed, they hop around the stage humming notes as they deposit them on the floor. You can almost hear our collective brains going 'ahh!', as bells, a concertina, xylophone, kazoo, ukulele, melodica, sousaphone (a kind of enormous tuba) and more are all laid out.

Suitably kitted-up, the foursome tries to play a tune – but is continually hampered by issues with sheet music, and a devilish desire to mix things up a little with new instruments (bottles of water or their own voices, for example).

Created and composed by Daniel Padden, WhirlyGig has a joy of music that's infectious, winding its way through the audience and increasing with each new instrument and sound. Without saying a word (apart from singing a few random notes), the performers give us plenty to laugh and smile about.

Constantly changing and not shy of silliness, yet utterly respectful of the musicians' skill, this is a show that makes playing an instrument look like the best fun you can have.

Reviewed at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.


Live theatrical experience for children featuring four musicians, 30 instruments and exciting musical puzzles to solve.