In their first two shows, Peut-être
Theatre tackled the writing of Ionesco and Lorca. Their new Brighton Festival commission Draw Me A Bird (now at Chelsea Theatre and Rich Mix in London)
riffs on the poems of Prévert. A
suitable sweep, given the European flavour of company and cast.
And did I mention their audiences are mostly under the age of
five? Building on the belief that you
don’t need to patronise young people to educate and entertain, Peut-être
aim “to bring a new aesthetic to the world of theatre for children.”
Draw Me A Bird
certainly looks gorgeous, its Parisian rooftop setting a cross between The
Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Red Balloon. Four
vintage-clad dancers each draw a bird, three of them morphing into their
creations, leaving the fourth (Isabelle Cressy) as narrator, musician and muse.
What follows is a delicately
choreographed fable of friendship and freedom that tackles such complex ideas
as the nature of loneliness and the difference between a real bird and an
imaginary one. Peut-être’s talented dancers outline the picture, leaving their young
audience to fill in the dots – and feed the birds, too, when invited.
The result: their almost
undivided attention, proof that children’s theatre can be beautiful and brainy
without losing sight of a good old-fashioned story. Bravo.