Brilliant

Published July 4, 2013

Cast your mind back to being a small child. Crawling into bed, turning off your light and snuggling down to bed. Squeezing your eyes shut and risking the occasional peek from beneath your duvet, where at the end of your now seemingly vast bedroom lie your curtains, behind which a whole world is waiting for you to draw them back for morning.

Fevered Sleep has captured this sleepy, quietly alive moment in a new show for three to five-year-olds that uses movement and music to depict a dreamy, magical world that reveals itself behind those curtains, a world where a toy stag becomes a friendly musician and the moon an orb of light you can pick up and play with.

Enchanting, whimsical and visually captivating, David Harradine and Sam Butler’s understated Brilliant is a playful and simple piece that left toddlers at yesterday’s press performance wide-eyed and – along with the few moments of wriggling and humorous toddler heckling you’d expect from such a little audience – joyfully giggling.

With childish playfulness, Laura Cubitt portrays the youngster at the centre of the piece, evoking subtle childlike mannerisms and expressions as she veers from restless sleep, thumb in mouth, to awaking time and time again to a new magical world behind her curtains.

From a huge, yellow-lit, cratered moon to dozens of mirror ball stars, each nightscape sees Jo Manser’s clever lighting become a physical presence, creating smokey streams of bright light to be sliced through with tentative hands or danced with. Mirror balls are swung across the stage casting 360 degrees of sparkling light across the audience to include them in the fun, while David Leahy creates a live soundtrack as the double-bass playing, loop machine-using stag.

Cleverly keeping the moments of darkness in the production to a minimum – a good move when even a second of black spurs panicked calls of wanting to go home – Brilliant provides a short and sweet introduction to the theatre that will excite kids and successfully lull adults into its serene dreamscape.

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