Little Gift @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Little Gift is a show for all ages that nurtures the heart

Review by Mirren Wilson | 20 Feb 2019
  • Little Gift

From the team that gifted the world with White, Andy Manley and Shona Reppe are back again, this time collaborating with M6 Theatre Company to explore the hope and joy of a growing friendship in Little Gift, featuring puppetry, music and tender emotion.

The story follows an old soul who’s comfortable in his own company. He spends his days looking out of the window, watching the cars go by and waving to the people outside, but nobody sees him. The unexpected arrival of a curious gift shakes his world and sets him on a hopeful path to friendship.

Multi-talented performer Guy Hargreaves leads us through this tale, acting as a helper/baggage handler/musician/puppeteer. With a wonderfully calming presence, he sings 'Who will I help today?' – a question that should really pop into our heads more often – as he prepares for work. Hargreaves moves with ease and shines with optimism, capturing the spirit of compassion that show intends to spread.

Joss Matzen’s set features a striking, tree-like structure of colourful suitcases that creates the many worlds and props of the story. There’s always something to grab your attention and part of the fun is exploring what’s in each case. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, the show is beautifully scored by Mark Melville. The music compliments the journey but it’s got a quirky edge (think Amelie or The Polar Express). 

However, the real magic begins when Hargreaves travels through a suitcase (yes, through a suitcase!) and we meet Ted, a beautifully designed puppet that captures an old, slightly broken man. There’s something about this puppet that instantly has you on his side, and it’s nothing but a joy to watch him care and nurture for his tree.

Little Gift plants several messages of caring for others and highlights the importance of friendship, new adventures and optimism. Although aimed at 3-7 year olds, it’s a wonderfully emotional show that we can all relate to and could all learn something from.

Little Gift @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, run ended; Eden Court, Inverness, 27 Feb; Paisley Arts Centre, 1-2 Mar