Oskar is an energetic puppy living in the Swiss Alps. It’s winter. Thick snow has encased the cabin he shares with his master, an old lady and a menagerie of farm animals. Cabin fever is setting in. This being a kids’ show, the plot doesn’t give in to any dark, carnivorous pangs that the set-up suggests. Rather than get hungry, everyone just gets sleepy. Everyone, that is, except Oskar. He just wants someone to play with and can’t wait for the spring thaw. So, he sneaks out one day to find a playmate, and his adventure begins.
Anglo-Swiss theatre company Fideri Fidera’s show is big on energy and charm. Solo performer Natasha Granger is plugged into the same megawattage generator that powers CBeebies presenters. Eyes wide, she acts out the tale with a variety of stuffed animals and puppets, crooks her body while inhabiting the old lady searching for Oskar, and beams while leading the kids in songs about digging and catching snow on your nose.
There is more here for the kids than the adults, which, if you had to choose between the two, is the right emphasis. Despite its inventive staging and winning performances, its appeal is firmly pre-school. On this evidence, the book that the show is based on is one that kids would return to time and again at bedtime, while parents would quietly try and hide it under more colourful, witty fare.
Amazing adventure? Not quite. Although, to be fair, Oskar’s Pleasantly Distracting Adventure wouldn’t look as good on a poster.