11 August 2010Also playing Theatre Royal 12 Aug at 5.30pm, and continuing its national tour
By Lucy Wilson Magnus
Special Delivery by Patch Theatre was like being an enchanted child eating a triple scoop ice cream in a cone. I knew the score and relished every mouthful.
This is children’s theatre that has them in stitches. The story by Greg Cousins and Jane Leicester is set in a dingy alleyway where a stock-standard deliveryman tries to fulfil the duties on his clipboard. But when nobody’s there to receive his trolley of boxes, one opens itself up with a dramatic tree-cutting saw, and out pops a look-a-like deliverywoman who hijacks his day in a playful, fantastical, magical way.Familiar objects, particularly those loved by children, are woven into a stream of delightful suspense spiced with trickery. There’s imaginative play around changing the scale of things from miniature to enormous, and a frisky pass-the-parcel. Performers Stephen Sheehan and Emily Hunt make it look fun and fresh, which is good going for a show that must be about four years old. There was one slapstick sequence where Sheehan’s rendition of blowing out a birthday candle was not quite believable, but this was no big deal, especially seeing his subsequent skill and control in portraying an elastic bendy body in the mischievous lead up to being squashed into a box.
I didn’t notice that not a single word was uttered in the entire show. Introducing the indiscriminately lit desk on stage facing the action. There sat Foley artist and composer Catherine Oates, feeding every move or look with amplified sounds made from her fancy footwork, scrunching newspapers, small tin percussion, a whistle and biscuit tin – to name just a few of her tools.
Artfully directed by Dave Brown into an action-packed rollicking 50 minutes, Special Delivery has all the qualities of old-fashioned goodness. It succeeds in engaging a contemporary audience of three to eight year olds into a spin of laughter and audible intrigue.