Moonbeam on a Cat’s Ear (3 stars)

Adapted from Marie-Louise Gay’s classic 1986 picture book, a treat for adults and kids alike

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Kids theatre review: Moonbeam on a Cat’s Ear

Adapted from Canadian author Marie-Louise Gay’s 1986 picture book of the same name, Jabuti Theatre’s version of feline fantasy adventure Moonbeam on a Cat’s Ear is a bright visual feast especially suited to small children.

Created in consultation with Gay, director Symon Macintyre and performers Rachael Macintyre and Jusztina Hermann have made a busy performance which uses puppetry and dance to tell the story of children Rosie and Toby, their cat, a mouse and the secret adventure they have at night when they steal the moon and go sailing.

It’s a warm and cosily expressive show, low on dialogue (there’s also a Gaelic version) but rich in non-verbal communication. Kim Bergsagel’s set and puppet design is detailed and perfectly choreographed into the performance, particularly a stack of painted blocks which Macintyre and Hermann use to build a tree in the centre of the stage, or push through the air to create the effect of crashing waves. If only the beautifully expressive and lifelike puppets of the children had been used more.

To the perception of an adult or even an older child there may be something slightly overplayed about the piece, as though some sequences are being pushed slightly longer than necessary. Yet looking around the room, it becomes apparent that this only adds to the experience of smaller children, who are enthralled by the sense of ebbing repetition and the performers’ ability to create little worlds out of nothing.

Seen at Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Fri 1 Apr. Touring Scotland until Sat 9 Apr.

Moonbeam on a Cat's Ear

By the light of the moon in the middle of the night Rosie, Toby Toby the cat and one small mouse sneak out to play in the shadow of the apple tree in the garden. When Toby Toby steals the moon from the sky they go on an adventure across star-speckled skies and over the sea. But is it all just a dream? Based on the book…

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