Everyone needs a bit of Poggle in their life. There’s no obstacle that can’t be overcome when you have the titular woodland sprite on hand. There is no tree too high to climb, no muddy field too squishy to cross, no bee too buzzy to fear. Barrowland Ballet have dreamed up Poggle’s sparkling, wispish show, a mostly wordless mix of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Stomp. It is an energising fusion that keeps its very young audience absolutely rapt for the 30-minute running time.
We initially meet Vince, a scaredy-cat who sets off into the dark woods. There he encounters the mischievous, puckish figure of Poggle, resplendent in an eco-warrior Kate Bush outfit. Through the medium of prancing and dancing, Poggle teaches Vince that the world isn’t as threatening as he feared. He learns that what he initially balked at—vertiginous trees, boggy mud—are actually some of the best things in the world. It is a message that is hard to quibble with.
Whether this encouragement to be generous of spirit and relentlessly curious about the world registers with the young minds in the crowd is debatable. That doesn't matter. The production is perfectly tuned for kids. The choreography is at turns slapstick, balletic and inspiring. The music is simple yet enchanting. The set is tactile and playground-like. The children are mesmerised into motionlessness for the entire show. Meanwhile, all the adults are wondering if Poggle might like to accompany them to their next board meeting.