The Polar Bears Go Up (4 stars)

The Polar Bears Go Up

Physical comedy for tinies scales the heights

'Bear,' says the little boy stretched out on a beanbag in the front row, pointing. He looks round to his father for confirmation: 'Bear? Bear.'

Huggable and shaggy under a number of fluffy white layers, Big Polar Bear and Little Polar Bear (Eilidh MacAskill and Fiona Manson) are most definitely ursine creatures. They snooze, scratch, stretch, sniff and roar (in a very friendly fashion) in a gentle introductory dance routine to Greg Sinclair's sweet, tinkly electronic score, designed to put any bear-scared tots amongst the audience at ease.

From here, the cleverly-designed set unfolds to help us explore the concept of 'up', with puppetry, clowning and eye-catching sparkly special effects. The plot is concerned with rescuing a fly-away balloon from space, a quest that will be compelling to any child who's ever accidentally let go of a string, but it's the wonderful, wordless physical comedy that really carries us.

MacAskill and Manson have that easy chemistry of experienced performers who genuinely enjoy each other's company, and the biggest belly laugh of the show occurs when Big Polar Bear gets a cardboard box stuck on her bottom. That said, it's a treat to see high, intelligent production values aimed at younger audiences.

Pleasance @ EICC, until 27 Aug (not 21), 11am, £8.

The Polar Bears Go Up

  • 4 stars

The Polar Bears and the Unicorn Theatre (London) co-production The Polar Bears are moving up in the world. They've lost their balloon and they need to get it back. It's time to get up, step up, climb up, jump up. One thing's for sure, the only way is up! These lovable Polar Bears are intrepid explorers, famous for…

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