Poggle @ The Studio, Edinburgh

Poggle is an exceptional new show for kids that invites the audience to get involved

Review by Dominic Corr | 14 Dec 2018

Going well above the expected standards many would have for a production directed towards a 0 to 5-year audience, Poggle reminds us that children’s theatre can be exceptional. The show stars four fresh-faced characters – Vince (Vince Varr), Pine Tree (Rory Haye), Poggle (Jade Adamson) and, most importantly, you. Vince, rather unfortunately, can’t seem to climb trees. With the help of the bum-shuffling, fun-creating Poggle he’ll learn not only how to do this but how to enjoy the nature all around.

Barrowland Ballet’s artistic director Natasha Gilmore has given Poggle a sense of earthy rhythm, with heavy beats drawing the children’s attention. Yet, the moment we ascend into the treetops, suddenly there are flips, twirls and lofty movements to keep in tune with the surroundings. As a piece of movement – regardless of the intended audience's age – Poggle is magnificent.

Both Varr and Adamson give tight physical performances, capturing their characters perfectly. With the squelching of mud, they tumble through the woods and, of course, bounce over treetops. Haye branches off into more than just a Pine Tree, bringing joyful vocals accompanied by live instruments.

Set amidst the backdrop of a woodland, cobbled together are a sequence of blocks. Gradually, they twist their way into becoming trees, drums and even a swamp. The design is clean and simple – Fred Pommerehn has captured the adaptability of nature. 'Interactive' doesn’t give enough credit for what the creators of Poggle achieve as the very woods themselves open into a miniature museum. All of the blocks are hollow, each containing some form of flora, fauna or natural beauty. The audience is then invited onto the stage to bounce, feel and investigate to their heart's content.

With Pine Tree, Poggle, Vince and, most importantly, yourself as the stars of this production, it allows the theatre to become thrown open for the newest critters entering this world.

The Studio, Edinburgh, until Wednesday 12 to Monday 24 December (not 17 or 23), tickets: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/poggle