JOYCE MCMILLAN on YELLOW VALLEY at Rutherglen Town Hall, Glasgow, for The Scotsman, 19.7.14.
3 stars ***
IT’S A HOT AND STEAMY summer afternoon at Rutherglen Town Hall; just the right atmosphere, in fact, for this latest show from the Edinburgh-based company Starcatchers, who specialise in theatre for the under-5’s. Co-created by director Xana Marwick and musician-performers Drew Wright and Dougie Hudson, Yellow Valley tells the story of a little African girl called Kendiwe, and her quest to find out what exactly is happening at a special place along the winding river, where another voice repeats every word she shouts out. Neither the cow nor the goat can help, and neither can her pet dog; and in the end it takes granny Choo-Choo to sort everything out.
As narratives go, it’s a little on the thin side, even for an audience of 2-3 year olds; a slightly meatier tale, more briskly told, might have exerted a tighter grip on the attention of the tiny tots lolling and squirming on cushions on the floor. What Yellow Valley has by the truckload, though, is gorgeous sound and music, delivered by Wright and Hudson on a fascinating range of acoustic instruments, from guitar to traditional West African balon. The story may be sketchy, in other words, but the performance is delightful; and at the end, at least half of the tots got up and danced with a will, having the time of their lives.
Seen on 18 July, on tour in Glasgow until 3 August.