A Strange New Space (3 stars)

This article is from 2017

A Strange New Space

A journey to outer space takes on new meaning in this moving one-woman show for ages 4+

The furiously imaginative power of child's play is recreated in this one-woman piece by Tessa Bide and her company, with the simplest of materials adapted to create a journey into outer space. Bide, gleeful and ready for adventure, makes an old juice bottle into a rocket to the stars and two bike lights into the eyes of an alien creature. She produces mother-and-daughter dolls from the large cardboard box centre stage, grabs a storybook which guides her adventures from her bag – and then creates a little robot guide to help her on her travels in a lovely, touching moment.

The combination of silent physical theatre and puppetry is a winning one, and smaller children will be enthralled by the imagination at play (there's a large behind-the-scenes staff, and the work of designer Sarah Dicks and lighting designer Joe Stathers is particularly effective). Yet the greater meaning behind the piece – that the girl played by Bide is a refugee, escaping the mundane horror of her existence with the junk around her in lieu of toys – is so light touch as to be hard to spot without reading the programme blurb. However, the sense of absence from a parent is poignantly expressed, along with the feeling of wariness in setting foot into a new world.

Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), 10.45am, £8 (£6)

A Strange New Space

  • 3 stars

Tessa Bide Amira is obsessed with space and dreams of becoming an astronaut. One night, the bangs, whooshes and fizzes of her imagination explode out of her dreams, becoming a deafening reality. Amira has to pack her bag for the intergalactic trip that she’s been waiting for… A Strange New Space is an imaginary voyage…