Mavis Sparkle is a 50-minute one-woman play for M6 Theatre Company which is aimed at 5-year-olds and upwards. It has a pleasing mix of magic and down-to-earth familiarity, with Mavis a cleaning lady who has a nice chat with the audience as they come in (“Are you going to the play? I wish I could, but I’m working.”) and then sets about cleaning the stage (“She’s already done that bit,” complained one lad behind me.). The magic comes from her parents, a magician and a dancer, who toured theatres and clubs when she was young before settling down to run a cleaning business.
The moral, slightly laboured, is that there is magic in everything and there’s a fair bit of educational content (especially about the Northern Lights), but with plenty of fun on the way. Mavis’s vigorous cleaning is accompanied by light-hearted music from Tayo Akinbode, magic comes through in little conjuring tricks and props such as her remote control bucket which threatens to run away from her, her past is re-captured on a small-scale stage and screen.
Eve Robertson wins over the audience with her infectious enthusiasm and sense of mischief and adventure, but the real star of the show is her monster cleaning trolley in which she finally sets off to drive to the North of Scotland. Drawers and drop-down shelves reveal everything from her tea-things to her pet hedgehog, and a charming cuckoo-clock makes sure she never forgets the time. After the play the more technologically minded youngsters examined the trolley closely, checking out how various magic moments came about.
Directors of M6 Theatre Company, Gilly Baskeyfield and Dot Wood, created and directed Mavis Sparkle, with Joss Matzen in overall charge of design, aided by a long list of set constructors and prop builders.
It’s always a pleasure to visit the Square Chapel which provided a comfortable and friendly venue for the production, sadly the only performance in Yorkshire during a seven-week tour. Not too distant locations for Mavis Sparkle are the Gala Theatre, Durham (20 February), the Lamplight Arts Centre, Stanley, Co. Durham (21 February) and the Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton (23 March).
For further information visit http://www.m6theatre.co.uk/