Traverse Theatre, Thu 7-Sun 24 December
Panto season may be amongst us, but one woman is making sure there’s a viable alternative in at least two of our theatres. Virginia Radcliffe and her Lickityspit theatre company will be taking up residence at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews with Molly Whuppie, while a large green whale will be beaching up at the Traverse this Christmas.
Written and directed by Radcliffe, Green Whale follows three Scottish children who join the crew of a ship to raise money for their family. Once onboard they meet a nasty whale hunter, a reformed pirate, the Queen of Spain and a Basque-speaking young girl. Journeying down to the bottom of the ocean inside a giant bubble, they learn the truth about the large mammal’s kind ways. As kids stories go, Green Whale is certainly a busy one.
‘It’s quite challenging in terms of the amount of story there is,’ says Radcliffe. ‘But I think young children are really underestimated. The show’s very funny, has really strong characters, lovely music and lots of action on the ship. So, as long as the characters keep checking that the children are still with them, then they don’t need to get every single aspect of it.’
It’s also the largest set Lickityspit has ever worked with. A huge boat with a giant mast magically transforms into the eponymous whale, while Chinese lanterns illuminate the stage. As with all of Radcliffe’s shows, there’s plenty to fuel young imaginations. ‘The wonderful thing about making theatre for this age group is nothing is wasted,’ she says. ‘They store it all up and take it away to play with later.’