Mavis doesn’t just sparkle, she dazzles. M6 Theatre Company’s latest kids’ show is an enchantingly inventive, magic box of a production about dreaming big, whoever you are.
Mavis (Eve Robertson) is a cleaner. She loves her job but her contract is almost up. She’s looking for her next challenge. But what—and where—will it be? Gilly Baskeyfield and Dot Wood’s script is a lovely, nimble exploration of big themes for young children. It covers moving on and letting go, as Mavis tells us about her childhood growing up as a magician’s daughter. Robertson is a delightful, colourful companion, funny and effortlessly engaging as she dusts children in the audience or fondly recalls (and re-enacts) her dad’s magic shows through a mix of miniature props and shadow puppetry.
The star attraction of Baskeyfield’s production is Mavis’s cleaning trolley. It’s a beautifully constructed box of delights and hidden spaces, which Mavis constantly opens up to reveal something new and exciting. Baskeyfield’s well-paced direction ensures the show never loses the attention of even the youngest child, as cups sprout flowers and brooms become flagpoles. Forget the noise and the glare of the latest, lazily CBBC-inspired production. Lovingly crafted and realised, this is the real deal.
Mavis’s trolley is a wonderful manifestation of the show’s abiding message: that even the most seemingly ordinary lives can be full of adventure and magic (and, if you’re lucky, a Spike the Hedgehog). I was as rapt as the three-year-old next to me.