JOYCE MCMILLAN on THE EDIBLES at Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock, for The Scotsman 23.12.13. ____________________________________________________
3 stars ***
THANKS to a minor Scotrail failure, I missed the first five minutes of The Edibles at Eastwood Park; but the gales of infant laughter floating downstairs, as I rushed in, promised plenty of fun already under way. Staged by the touring Grinagog company, and set to arrive today at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, The Edibles is set on Christmas Eve in a bakery that looks like a gingerbread house, all brown walls with curly white trim and little red window-frames. In the bakery, three slightly absent-minded chefs receive an order for a splendid three-tier Christmas cake; but their efforts to keep it safe until its owner collects it are repeatedly frustrated by a large and naughty mouse, which creeps in and steals the top tier, or even dons a moustache and poses as the customer himself.
So far, so simple; the kids love the story, chant along with the rhythm of the baking – flour, sugar, butter, eggs – and often laugh at the slapstick. There are moments when the physical comedy seems seriously over-emphatic and forced, as if the three performers (Becki Gerrard, Alasdair Hankinson and Clare McGarry) were trying much too hard to be funny. At heart, though, The Edibles is a good-looking and good-hearted show, with fine jazz-inflected music by Oliver Searle, attractive design by Ali Maclaurin, and some gorgeous mouse-puppets, which the children get to meet in lovely moments of real interaction; and if you’re looking for some gentle, attractive entertainment for your restless two-to-four-year-olds, this Christmas Eve, then The Edibles fills the bill, with plenty of charm and professionalism.