MamaBabaMe (4 stars)

Dance review: MamaBabaMe

A perfectly pitched dance experience for toddlers and those who look after them

Starcatchers, the pre-school age children's theatre specialists, has teamed up with dance company Curious Seed to create a piece of dance that is accessible to children aged 18 months to three years, and those who nurture them.

And nurturing is very much the key. This is a duet which uses cuddles and holding, feeding and reassuring, as its language. It has no particular narrative, more an evolution using the kind of movement and dance that intrigues an audience. There is plenty here for adults too, with elements that recall the magical state of holding and interacting with a child who is completely trusting of your actions.

It's all played out on a circular stage, with dancers Hannah Venet and Nerea Gurrutxaga surrounded by a low wall of soft material. The audience sits on carpet outside the wall, which the toddlers amongst us soon realise is just the right size to lean on or clamber over – but high enough to feel like a barrier for those who might start out intimidated by the experience.

While Christine Devaney's choreography develops and expands on the changing relationship between child and adult, cellist Robin Mason provides music which is both a commentary on the movement and a soundtrack to dance to. It starts with an Ivor Cutler-esque simplicity, but later has a jazz feel, Mason bending the notes so that the performance becomes a trio between dancers and instrument.

Pitched perfectly for its target age range, MamaBabaMe's presentation and environment is completely understanding of their needs.

Southside Community Centre, Edinburgh, Thu 1–Sun 4 Jun, times vary; Platform, Glasgow, Sat 10 & Sun 11 Jun, 11.30am & 2.30pm, and touring.


Dance, theatre and live music experience for toddlers and their grown ups which explores, through playful movement and sound, the relationship between a newborn and a mother and how this bond grows. Ages 1.5-3 years. Presented by Starcatchers and Curious Seed.