JOYCE MCMILLAN on A MILLION MILES AWAY at the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen for The Scotsman 18.12.13.
3 stars ***
THE SHOW begins as it means to go on, at the Lemon Tree this Christmas. There’s magic in the air, as parents and tiny tots settle down for the prologue in a promenade space carpeted in snowy white, and lit by the glow of a Christmas tree.
As it turns out, though, there is no prologue, and no introduction; just a brief nod from performer Karen Young, perched in a corner with her rucksack, before we have to follow her on a winter journey to visit her eccentric Uncle Sid, on his own special island.
And that’s how things are, for the whole 40 minutes of a show – co-produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts and Frozen Charlotte – that offers an altogether strange combination of atmospheric magic and sheer narrative ineptitude. The story involves the idea that Uncle Sid has captured some stars, and is keeping them hidden around the island; but all of this emerges through such a plodding and introverted series of dialogue scenes that some of the kids lose interest, and start to make their own entertainment by getting up and dancing around the stage.
The show features a lovely junk-shop set by Janis Hart, and an attractive score by Dave Martin. At the end, though, when the two actors take their bows and speak directly to the audience for the first time, we’re reminded of just how much more dynamic, involving and exciting this show could have been, if it had tapped into that raw theatrical energy right from the start.
ENDS ENDS l