Don’t worry if you start to feel sleepy during this show. It has a gently hypnotic effect, beautifully capturing that floaty moment in childhood between storytelling and dreaming.
Contemporary circus group Upswing have created a loving hymn to the power of imagination, using aerial acrobatics and video projections to transport children aged from three to ten years old away from the hubbub of the Fringe.
It’s also a tale of mothers and daughters – about how they can lose sight of each other sometimes. The Little Girl (Hazel Lam) wants Mum (Hannah O’Leary) to finish a bedtime story; Mum just wants her to go to sleep, so she can finish her work. But the Little Girl’s invisible friend, Three (Nathan Johnston), wants adventures.
There’s a lulling simplicity to the choreography of this show, which—as well as the usual seating—is bordered by blankets and cushions for families in the middle of Lafayette, Circus Hub’s bigger spiegeltent. Lam spins from bedsheets to a space shuttle launch countdown, while O’Leary’s desk becomes a ship on a voyage.
The animations that spill across a semi-transparent column descending from the ceiling conjure up oceans, sharks and forests, while a fluttering soundtrack adds a touch of magic. There’s the same sweeping emotional undertow as in the best children’s books, as Mum and Little Girl bridge their distance.
Bedtime Stories is a lovely, affecting thing. It will captivate small children while reminding the rest of us to slow down, put aside the bank statements and dream a little.