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Scrunch (Unicorn Theatre)

Theatr Iolo's production provides festive fun for babies

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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It's theatre, baby: Kevin Lewis performing in Scrunch
© Manuel Harlan

I didn't expect to be able to take my daughter, who's just turned one, to the theatre for a few years yet. But then I hadn't factored in the ever enterprising Unicorn, which this Christmas has served up a show specifically designed for babies.

On arrival we were ushered into a soft play room along with around ten other babies and their parents. As the little ones crawled around on the rugs, my wife and I took the welcome opportunity for a morning shot of coffee. We then trooped upstairs to a studio adorned with pillows, blankets and white drapes. Showtime.

The doorbell rings and a gift arrives. What's inside? Young children at Christmas are famously more interested in the wrapping paper than the presents themselves, and so it proves in Scrunch.

Quite how performer Kevin Lewis managed to keep my daughter - whose usual attention span is roughly akin to a goldfish - rapt for a full 25 minutes is still beyond my comprehension. But thanks to an array of crinkly fabrics, a propensity to make funny noises and an ability to turn a greetings card into a hilarious prop by simply allowing it to drop off his head, he managed with ease.

There's real thoughtfulness to Lewis and writing partner Sarah Argent's production which ensures the art of repetition is carefully balanced with that of variety. And ten minutes of playtime at the end ensures the children get the chance to scrunch up some fabrics themselves (suffice it to say, we were the last ones to leave).

Even though my daughter is unlikely to remember her first trip to the theatre, the sound of a roomful of babies giggling away like there's no tomorrow is something that will stay with her parents for a long time to come.

Scrunch, which is suitable for babies aged 6-18 months, continues until 4 January 2015

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