The Way Back Home – Southbank Centre, London
Creator: Oliver Jeffers
Reviewer: Cavelle Leigh
The Way Back Home, based on the children’s book by Oliver Jeffers, tells the delightful and dreamlike tale of a little boy on a spontaneous mission to outer space. Presented by Teater Refleksion and Branar Téatar do Phiástí in collaboration with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, it creatively combines subtle puppetry, delicate music and quite innovative sound effects.
It begins with our young adventurer alone in the dark, joyfully engaged with his bed, personified as a quite mischievous dog! Games of catch ensue, vigorous belly rubbing and as every child knows, much forbidden bouncing on the bed!
It gets better still as he then discovers quite by accident an aeroplane, which he makes the best of, with a mission into the unknown- into greater space. In a dark and wondrous cosmos he dives in and out of gigantic clouds and plays cat and mouse with flying saucers as he puts a few light years on clock. Then however he encounters a few mechanical problems with his aeroplane (aka spaceship) – ‘He’s run of out petrol!’ shout one enthused member of the audience.’ causing him to have to make an emergency landing on the moon, a cartoonish crescent.
There he finds he isn’t alone, but shares this disastrous fate with none other than an alien, green with antennae naturally, who has also crash landed. Though at first they are alien to each other, pardon the pun, soon emerges a touching friendship as they help each other journey home with the aid of parachutes and an encounter with a grumpy penguin back on earth.
Though aimed at the children, at approximately 40 minutes The Way Back Home is visually charming, and quite amusing to entertain both them and the parents alike. Without words, it requires the audience to bring just that little a bit of their own imagination to what is shown before them, which can only be encouraging.
Runs until 2nd November 2012