Young kids always love the box more than present, as parents we have all seen that one. A big box can be a hiding place, a car, a boat or anything else that those fertile little imaginations can conjure. Boxy and Sticky at The Bristol Old Vic is a theatre production for little ones presented by Theatr lolo which playfully shows how much fun and adventure can be found from in such simple objects.
Boxy earns his nickname after a particularly long drawn out game of hide and seek; a large box his hiding place of choice. Sticky has found a stick that presents a multitude of ideas for play, and the sound of her musical stick was particularly hilarious to my youngest. There is music to be played, characters to be magically brought to life, oceans to cross and delicious food to be had. These two just want to play, and they throw themselves into the pursuit of it with humour, creativity and imagination.
This is a show that is aimed at 3 to 5 year olds, and I went with my 6 year old and 3 year old daughters. My eldest told herself that is was for ‘kids’ and that she was far too old for it! She still enjoyed it and giggled along with the younger audience members, despite herself. It was absolutely perfectly pitched for my 3 year old though. The action was simple and easy to follow, yet never strayed into the territory of being a bit boring, which such a simple storyline could have. Something about it really caught her; she was helpless with laughter during much of it. The performance is 45 minutes, which is just about perfect for the age group as my youngest was just starting to drift towards the end. The ending is touching, poignantly so for the adults present. I won’t spoil it for those going, but it makes you realise the importance of play and how these experiences should be nurtured and valued above any others. It is a sweet ending.
This is a show where the theatre company really gets what a show for this age group should be like. They know that this may be the first experience of theatre these little ones have ever had, and they go out of their way to ensure the studio is welcoming. There are soft padded mats at the front of the stage where they can sit if they so wish to be nice and close to what is going on. Both my two chose not to sit there, but The Studio is so intimate that wherever you sit you can see all the action and feel part of it. This show is lovely, gentle and calm. Perfect really, because much as you want children to giggle and enjoy themselves, what you don’t really want from such a young audience is for them to come out high as kites like you have been feeding them sugar all morning!
Boxy and Sticky is on in the Studio of the Bristol Old Vic until Saturday 9th of April, and you should see it if you can. It’s a lovely playful introduction to theatre for the younger members of your family.