Team Juice recently took a trip up to Edinburgh in order to go see some shows at Imaginate Festival – Edinburgh’s 26 year old Theatre Festival aimed at Children and Young People. Whilst there we ate all of Edinburgh’s food, I stared down a man in the street because he might have had more Imaginate Badges than me, and we watched some great pieces of theatre.
This is the second of two articles looking at what I thought of the day Juice went to Imaginate (if you’ve missed the first part, it can be found here). In this one I talk about my experience of The Lost Things and The Bockety World of Henry and Bucket.
The Lost Things
By Tortoise in a Nutshell and Oliver Emanuel
The Lost Things was a really atmospheric puppet show that took place in a dark dome that reminded me of the amazing planetarium I once got to see at School when I was about Twelve. Those are things that make me interested in something. It featured an Evil Giant Robot Puppet-Dad as an antagonist. That should be enough to make this my favourite thing ever. And it wasn’t.
It looked absolutely amazing, and had one of the most exciting sets I think I’ve seen. In the darkness of the dome, the puppets’ faces were lit up and that looked brilliant, the actual design of the puppets, and the titular world of ‘Lost Things’ was so well realised. It all came together to make up something that was a little bit like – aesthetically at least – a Live performance of Coraline. And I really like that film. So it seems so wrong to talk negatively about a show that clearly had so much care put into it and so much to like.
Unfortunately, it seemed like the skill involved in puppetry and design had been such a huge focus of the show that the narrative suffered. There was a story, and it was basically a good story. It just didn’t always seem to be an important part of the show, so I found it a little difficult to engage with what was going on which.
Tortoise In a Nutshell are really good at Puppetry. There was a lot that I really liked about the show, and the performers were great performers and seemed great at talking with the children and showing them their fantastic puppets once the show had finished. It would have just been nice if the same passion that came across for set design and puppetry also came across in the storytelling.
And I’ll be honest, there is a small chance that I’m just bitter that the Giant Robot Dad wasn’t in EVERY scene.
The Bockety World of Henry and Bucket
Barnstorm Theatre Company
The word ‘Bockety’ means that something is a bit wobbly. Henry and Bucket came out into the waiting area to tell us this before the show started. The show the was basically a day in the life of two people who made do with their wobbly little lives. The two live in a junk yard, they sleep in tyres and they have a pet Mouse (which is represented in a way so funny I refuse to spoil it). They get on each others nerves a lot and bicker.
This was a fantastic show. It was incredibly simple, it made use of every piece of seemingly random junk that was laid around the set. They went on a car journey into Space! While there was dialogue, what made the show really enjoyable was the physical comedy, how well the show was choreographed, it’s really goes to show just how much great writing means so much more than just great dialogue. The two performers were fantastic and clearly must get on well in real life.
The song at the end that said ‘And the Next Day, things will still be Bockety’, just summed up the message behind their perfectly bockety lives so well. This was a show that told it’s audience that you can still find happiness even when you’re not in the most perfect situation, which is such an uplifting thing to tell people.
On the whole I really enjoyed my time at the Imaginate Festival. There wasn’t a single show I saw that I wouldn’t be interested in seeing again and each one had something really interesting going on. The Festival itself was well run – though as a person not too familiar with Edinburgh, it would maybe have been nice if some of the venues were sign-posted a little better – and if you’ve read the first of my Imaginate Articles you’ll know how much of a fan I was of the really simple touch of giving away little badges with each event (although I didn’t get one for By Hand and I might eternally regret it). It was a really great day and I’m really happy to have had the chance to visit.
The Imaginate Festival takes place from the 11th – 17th May throughout Edinburgh and more information can be found on their website.