Alfie White: Space Explorer (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

Alfie White: Space Explorer

A richly crafted, sparkily delivered fable for the whole family

It’s a clever trick, setting a kids’ show in the late 1960s. The children get all the magic of an unfamiliar era, while the parents get a good dose of nostalgia. Tall Stories also has a fantastic ready-made soundtrack at its disposal, from Miles Davis to the Beatles.

But these aren’t the only – or even the main – reasons this show is so great. The company has devised a lively and tender tale about a boy who makes up his own tall story to get the bullies off his back about where his father is. Edward White, Alfie tells us, was the first man to walk in space. Sure enough it gains him respect for a while but is a story that ultimately backfires, and if you know your space history you’ll already know why. Coming clean about the lie, Alfie then embarks on a detective hunt with his plucky new friend Meg, leading him to discover the truth about his father, and also that the skies aren’t the only place stars can be found.

Jordan Turner is an adorable Alfie, gutsy and awkward and beautifully expressive, while Lucy Tuck – playing all the other parts, from Meg to nose-picker Stan, to a gate post, stairs, a see-saw and a dog – is absolutely outstanding. A natural physical storyteller and comedian, the detail she injects into each character, along with her comic timing and energy, lifts what is already a jolly good yarn to even greater heights.

There is so much to love about this production, not least the inventive use of records as masks, and Bek Palmer’s creative set, that it is tempting to recommend it for an antidote to a rainy day whether or not you have children to bring along.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 19), 2.05pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

Alfie White: Space Explorer

  • 4 stars

Tall Stories present a cosmic tale of adventure and discovery, about a young boy who sets out with his best friend Meg on a daring mission to find his dad.