facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen.

The Thought That Counts

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 17 April 2008

The Young Genius season, co-produced by the Barbican and Young Vic, turns its eyes towards today’s young geniuses with theatre-rites new show for children The Thought That Counts. Being little more than an over-sized kid himself, Matthew Amer went along to the press night (which was more of a press morning, due to the age of the target audience)…

“Are there any scary bits?” one slightly dubious young audience member was heard to exclaim before entering the Barbican Pit for possibly his first taste of theatre. Luckily for him – and me, if the truth be told – there weren’t. In fact, what theatre-rites presents for the audience is a thought-provoking tale about thoughts.

From gaps in a curtained backdrop, different-sized white spheres appear, each, handily, with an actor attached. The spheres – not dissimilar to something you would expect to see in The Prisoner, but far less threatening – become thought-bubbles which lead the audience into the different childhoods of the stage performers.

Though the stage itself is quite sparse and the props are generally nothing more than white balls, the stories told are both varied and imaginative. Video images are projected onto the plain orbs, transforming them into works of art, the moon and even transporting the actors inside the balls. Atmospheric music and sounds, from ‘boings’ to calm-inducing sounds of space, accompany the action. The multi-talented performers move from being actors, musicians and dancers to puppeteers as they gain a highly lovable inflatable friend, whom they play with, try to teach to juggle and take on a space-walk.

It’s not just an inflatable friend that gets to play with the actors. The company engage the gathered children with the question “What should it be to be a child?” The answers today ranged from “be nice to each other” to a very grown-up “tidy up after yourself”. The biggest ball of all – the thought-bubble that belonging to the gathered crowd – actually made its way into the gleeful audience at one point.

Whether there were any young geniuses in the audience today, would be hard to tell, but every child was transfixed by the action; laughing, cheering or shouting ideas, but also, most impressively, remaining pin-droppingly silent when mesmerised by the show.

The Thought That Counts plays at the Barbican Pit as part of the Young Genius season until 5 November.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.