Mavis Sparkle is a show for children over five, which moves away from conventional storylines by putting a character from everyday life centre stage. M6 Theatre’s Gilly Baskeyfield and Dot Wood set out to show children that magic could be found everywhere.
Mavis is introduced before the show begins as she dusts the stage and under seats. She is a cleaner, but it soon becomes clear that she is no ordinary cleaner. She can make flowers appears from paper cup, get her bucket to move closer with some gestures of encouragement and make a complete newspaper from torn scraps.
They are all basic sleight of hand tricks but clever enough to delight the young audience. These tricks are combined with story telling and shadow theatre as Mavis (played with enthusiasm by Eve Robertson) narrates the story of her magician father and her dancer mother and tells of her dream to see the Northern lights.
There is a lot to please adults here, not least the importance of the Northern lights to the story, but the educational aspect does not seem too forced. At times there was a little bit of fidgeting in the short period when Robertson’s Mavis narrates the story without props, but it’s better than underestimating the understanding of her young audience.
The overall message is that there is a little bit of magic in even the most ordinary situations and as excited children spilled out into Salford Quays, it didn’t seem like such a bad message to give out.