Starbird (3 stars)

This article is from 2013


Mara Menzies' colourful puppetry and storytelling lights up the night

There are a few key ingredients you need to entertain young children, and this show has pretty much got all of them. An engaging storyteller, Mara Menzies interacts with the children as if they were sitting in the library at school, instantly taking away any possible anxieties about being in a theatre.

Then there’s colour – and lots of it. From the moment you enter the theatre, the beautiful handmade set grabs you, concocted from countless pieces of material to evoke a vibrant jungle, which is home to the equally colourful starbird.

The puppets, too, are cute and charming, with baby starbirds venturing out into the world until a moment of peril calls them back home (via a lovely piece of whole audience participation).

The storyline, however, could use some tightening. Sharp and clear at first, it starts to meander midway through, when interesting aspects are told rather than shown and introducing the puppets becomes more important than the plot. But there are some magical touches here, and it’s a gentle intro to theatre for ages three and over.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 556 9579, until 26 Aug, 11am, £8 (£6).


  • 3 stars

A bird with sparkling wings that lights up the stars at night crosses paths with a hunter, whom she must escape to save her family. Toto Tales tell Starbird's story through African-inspired music, dance and costumes.