Last week we performed Flying The Nest to a home crowd at The Theatre Royal in Nottingham. We were egg-cited to receive a 5 star review from local mumsnet!
The Royal Concert Hall invited us to see Flying the Nest on Thursday 27th October 2016.
This interactive experience, led by three performers from Handmade Theatre, took place on the Concert Hall’s fourth level foyer. Advertised as for ages 4-9, our four-and-a-half year-old reviewer attended with her Mum.
We gathered on the third level foyer before being led upstairs by one of the performers. Here we found a set of five large ‘nests’ woven from willow and lined with turf, which the children were encouraged to sit inside. Adults perched and hovered behind. A bird-house faced us and our three performers introduced themselves, as professors from Hatchling College, teaching birds to fly and children to watch birds. We all danced like a duck by way of introduction.
Our performers flitted between characters, as birds, birders and professors, with deliberately frenetic speed, which conveyed a huge sense of child-like enthusiasm, not always tempered by the ten, very sensible ‘rules of birding’ one of the professors wished to convey.
Each nest was given a model mother bird to look after, with food and eggs arriving through the course of the production. So we learnt what an oystercatcher, magpie, kestrel, robin and duck like to eat. Our young reviewer didn’t want to feed toy mice to her kestrel but did take excellent care of her egg. We learnt what birds do in the rain, getting a bit wet in the process (a highlight!). We also learnt something about cuckoos – that they lay green eggs in other birds’ nests and apparently, rush around shrieking in an effort to find their young.
We had fun and the set, props and sense of the performers’ enthusiasm for their subject were wonderful. For a four-year-old, it was an entertaining if episodic experience, the pace, humour and delivery were better suited to the older end of the age range. Our reviewer loved the nest and interactivity though and sang me the ‘what do birds do in the rain?’ song spontaneously the next morning. There was, possibly, a slight sense of something that had been performed many times before being rushed through in places, with some lines quite hard to catch, so that the ‘rules of birding’ came across primarily via comic enactment. But comic, fun and at least a little bit educational it certainly was.
FD and CG for Mumsnet Nottingham