“Hip, hip hooray” for this lovely, bubbly show! The Sixth Sense Theatre Company is touring the country with its production of ‘Splosh!’, a short musical play for audiences aged 2-5 and their families. We were lucky to have four shows in Redbridge, on 13th and 15th March. (You can watch a taster of the original 2012 production here.) And thanks to the folks at the Redbridge Drama Centre, live theatre for this age group looks to be a reoccuring offering. Hip, hip hooray!
A bathtub, aptly named ‘Mr. Bath’, is the centrepiece of this 30-minute production. It’s his birthday and his friends, Zak and Ellie, are trying their hardest to make it a happy one, despite the appearance of one Slippery Sid the bath sponge. In the live show, the audience sits on bath mats in a semi-circle around Mr. Bath. There’s a little live music–Zak strumming the mandolin whilst sitting in the bath–and loads of action. Children are encouraged to join in to help Zak and Ellie find Little Duck, elude Sid the Slippery Sponge, and celebrate Mr. Bath’s birhday.
It is high drama in the most commonplace of settings, the family bath. And this is the point of it really. As the Theatre Company intends, ‘Splosh!’ uses “multi-sensory design, music and puppetry to help children and families explore communicative play at bath time.” My girls have been talking about it for days now. My older daughter, three and a half, was completely engaged in the action, and though it was a little too much excitement for my shy two year old, she is asking for Mr. Bath now all the time and walking around the house with the little book she was given at the end of the show. This is a booklet of activities and fun things we can try at home to prolong the Sploshy fun.
This was our second ‘multi-sensory’ adventure this month–last week we saw Spitalfields Music’s excellent production, Musical Rumpus. Though these productions were quite different in nature–one traditional storytelling with classical music and the other a noisy, modern kiddie drama–both have brought a three-dimensional sense of art to my children (and to me), experiences which will go a long way towards their appreciation for drama, storytelling, human action, participation, and creativity. In short, really good stuff!