Paperbelle (5 stars)

This article is from 2012


Imaginative fun for the very young

Imaginative fun for the very young Creating a show that straddles the fine line between engaging a pre-schooler, and not scaring them, isn’t easy. Harder still to capture the imagination of the grown-up whose lap they’re sitting on or next to.

Yet with this delicate, sweet and funny show, Scottish theatre company Frozen Charlotte manages to do exactly that. Slipping off our shoes and placing our bags to one side, we enter a world made of paper. The floor, the walls, the furniture, even the performer’s shirt has a papyrus quality. He’s all alone on stage, backed by a guitarist who sits behind us, and the busiest technical operator in Edinburgh working away backstage.

The star of the show, Paperbelle, lives up to her name. Made from a small square of paper, she communicates with surprising coherence through the notes of the guitar. Darting around the stage (courtesy of that busy technician) she appears here, there and everywhere, much to the delight of the young audience (and, to be honest, us grown-ups, too).
Pure white at first, flashes of bright colour slowly appear around the set and on Paperbelle’s attire. Again, met with squeals of delight from toddlers who have clearly sussed that being sharp eyed is a key part of this theatrical experience.

The simplest of storylines (Paperbelle visits her friend and introduces some colour into his life) means there’s no possibility of misunderstanding or confusion, regardless of age. Actor Stanley Pattison has a playful, yet gentle, manner, as tickled by Paperbelle’s shenanigans as we are.

Purpose-built for the show, the performance area is bright but intimate, giving that much needed sense of security for tiny ones (and their even tinier siblings who come along for the ride). While the wee surprise at the end makes everyone feel part of the action.

Assembly Royal Botanic Garden, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 21), 10.30am, 11.45am & 1.30pm, £7.


An enchanting show about the world of colours presented by Frozen Charlotte. Ages 2–5.

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