You and Me and the Space Between (5 stars)

Kids Theatre Review: You and Me and the Space Between

credit: Elise Derwin

Multi-media play delivers emotional message in light-handed way

The Proud Circle is an island in the middle of the ocean, where babies are born on the soft ground in the centre and move outwards as they grow older, eventually slipping into the sea. But one day the island starts to sink, and little 12-year-old Eve has an idea: Why don't they row the island itself to shallower waters and safety? The islanders soon find themselves tethered to the coast of a vast new land, where their new hosts are curious and their language is impossible to understand – some of them become outright hostile towards the new arrivals.

An Australian production from children's playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer and Terrapin Puppet Theatre, You and Me and the Space Between is cleverly conceived and masterfully executed. There's a simple beauty to the tragically contemporary reference points; with the island cut from its moorings in the night, Eve's SOS message that 'We are people worth saving because we are people now drowning' is heartbreaking. Yet none of it feels heavy-handed, with a story filled with fantasy and wonder delicately freighting the message.

Scottish storyteller Rosalind Sydney performs both as the narrator and the character Eve, and around her Dean Stevenson and Tom O'Hern act as both performers and technicians, the former playing live sound effects, the latter live-drawing the cartoons which appear on the innovative 3D backdrop. Around them flits puppeteer Felicity Horsley, manipulating an array of pulleys to reveal pop-up projection screens and a vast sheet of paper which becomes a rolling ocean, creating a totally immersive and deceptively simple emotional experience.

Seen at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre Studio, Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Children's Festival. Run ended.