Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 6-Sat 10 Feb; North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Tue 13-Sat 17 Feb
Parents sneaking out the door with a crying baby is a familiar sight at children’s theatre shows. Dragged along with an older sibling to a show too scary, confusing or just downright dull for tiny tots to endure, toddlers aren’t afraid to voice their displeasure.
But now that’s all about to change. London-based theatre company, Oily Cart, has created a show tailor-made for the smallest members of the community. Baby Balloon takes children aged two and under on a magical journey of inflatable fun. Highly interactive and full of sensory wonder, the show has everything the average 1-year-old could desire - sound, touch, taste and smell. Oh, and lots of bubbles.
‘Once the bubbles come out the children usually invade the stage,’ says Oily Cart’s artistic director, Tim Webb. ‘And we’re very happy about that. We’re working with toddlers, crawlers and people who bounce around on their bottoms, and we know that they don’t respect anything theatrical. So at any point, they can come and join us.’
Oily Cart has been creating innovative children’s theatre for over 25 years, but Baby Balloon is their first show for under twos. Webb is convinced you’re never too young for your first theatrical experience. ‘If you provide children with stimulating, delightful and challenging activities, then first and foremost they’re going to take a great deal of pleasure from it,’ he says. ‘But it also engages their minds, their imaginations and their emotions and I believe that when that happens you develop as an individual. When they’re watching Baby Balloon, you can practically hear their little synapses firing.’