This energetic production from Inkbloc Ensemble is set in Downblow. Where’s that? Well, children, it’s where all the broken toys and bits of worn-out stuff go missing to, when you’ve lost them.
It’s also where the all-singing, all-dancing Holly and Noel introduce us to Luna, who lives there and is the fixer who, well, fixes them.
The set is a magnificent concoction of all sorts of bits of rubbish, foliage, and broken equipment – which is what everything in the show is made of: costumes, portals to the outside world (“Up Top”), even a large and helpful rat.
There’s a man who is really a compass (what?), and there’s much reference to pioneering women. What is this all about?
Well, really, it’s about being adventurous – particularly for girls. We meet Junko Tabei, first woman to climb Everest; Kay Cottee, first woman to sail non-stop around the world on her own; Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. All as exemplars to encourage the timid Luna to take the risk of going Up Top. But this isn’t a dry morality lecture.
The three-handed cast, Alison Cowling, Claire Crawford and Toby Robertshaw, are tremendously energetic performers, and the main joy of this rumbustious show is in the imaginative use of bits of all sorts of unlikely junk; for instance, a step ladder becomes a Christmas Tree (with audience help); another one becomes a boat; or even, with the help of a white sheet, Mount Everest.
And, like Kay Cottee’s voyage, the show is non-stop. It whirls with energy and visually stimulating imagination throughout. Lovely fun!
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood
Onwards and Upwards is an Inkbloc Ensemble production, at the Rondo Theatre in Bath.
The show is appearing at the Rondo Theatre until Sunday 23rd December. For more information, and tickets, visit the Rondo Theatre website.