Small Wonders @ The Warehouse, Edinburgh

Small Wonders is a spellbinding performance from Punchdrunk for Imaginate's Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Live Review by Mirren Wilson | 21 May 2019
  • Small Wonders

What if a sliver of tin foil is not just a sliver of tin foil? Think of all the possibilities, use your imagination and wonder.

Punchdrunk are an English company specialising in immersive work. They have had astounding success with their previous productions, closing the space between actor and performer to transcend worlds and blur the lines of reality. In their Scottish premiere, Small Wonders, Nanny Lacey is getting forgetful and her daughter Bella is slowly preparing her to move to a care home. Some may call Nanny Lacey a hoarder, but she calls herself a collector of ‘scrapgic’ – scrap magic. With her assortment of bits and bobs, she builds miniature models of adventures and memories to remember her stories, but as she welcomes you into her flat, she has one more amazing adventure to share with you.

As Nanny Lacey (Liz Watts-Legg) and Bella (Sarah Akokhia) welcome you into her charming Tottenham flat, you’re instantly taken to another wonderous reality. The detail in this set design is unbelievable. From the stack of vintage boardgames to the Spurs scarf, this flat appears fully lived-in.

The performers are a pleasure to watch and everyone in the room is referred to as a ‘darling.’ This show specifically requires interaction with children throughout – part of the fun is watching the duo improvise with whatever is thrown at them. It's equally fascinating to watch the children engage so wholly with the storytelling.

As a promenade piece, the audience are taken into three different worlds. One of the rooms involves a high sensory experience which some children might find a little alarming but it doesn’t last very long until you’re transformed and transported into a different location.

Embracing the imagination and creativity of the audience, it’s an unpredictable and magical journey. The main story itself is familiar and, at points, emotional but Small Wonders radiates positivity, encouraging you to appreciate your family, your own adventures and the small wonders in daily life. Plus you get a free biscuit, so what’s not to love?

The Warehouse, Edinburgh, until 2 June