One minute we’re being jostled by the frenzied present-buying hordes on Euston Road, the next we’re tucked up under bedcovers, thoughtfully provided on each row of seats at The Place.
We’ve ducked in to the famous contemporary dance theatre to watch a show about the fantastical night-time adventures of a young boy named Jack.
Loosely inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale journey to exotic lands via everyone’s all-seeing friend, the moon, Jack goes up the chimney, sails turbulent seas and encounters an emotional dragon over the course of one eventful night, wrapped in his blanket (or duvet) of stars.
On hand to help me remember the best bits are my daughters Sara (7) and Amyrah (10). Despite the show being suitable for anyone aged over 3, Amyrah seems to be the most excited person in our row/bed. So what’s her verdict?
“It’s humorous and hilarious,” she declares. “I really like the characters doing flips and twirls and climbing all over the place.”
The physical circus on stage is indeed a totally captivating sight, viewed through eyes of any age. The three performers seem to take flight across the global canvas of Jack’s bedroom, which becomes ever-more colourful and less scary as he progresses.
The final act of the 45-minute story sees a two-person, waggy tail dragon steal the show, a magical beast effortlessly conjured up by some impressive choreography.
“I like how they made the dragon breathe glittery fire and how one man is holding the other man up to make the dragon stand,” exclaims Sara. “I could see his stripy socks, upside down!”
Both girls are also captivated by the way the moon walks through the sky and the dancers swing, hang and dive about the bedroom “a bit like us on the bunk bed at home”. In terms of resonating with the audience, this compelling show also manages that with an apparent, yet carefully honed, ease.
Once it’s over, we are invited up on stage to get interactive. “The whole set is cool, with a moving bed, and everything made of blackboards which we’re drawing all over,” says Sara, chalk in hand.
The kids’ stage invasion adds even more colour to this lovely diversion from Xmas holiday stresses, while the director’s note in the programme on the monochrome nature of our current Brexity politics, highlights why we all must dare to dance in the full spectrum of the moonlight.
Back out in the hurried December 2017 gloom, the girls remain lit up. “That was a real corker,” says Amyrah, succinctly and definitively.
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