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Theatre Review: Small Wonders *****

Michael Cox reviews a production 'that is as emotionally stirring as it is magical'.

Small Wonders is a difficult production to review: there’s much to talk about, but the less people know going in, the better.

Audiences have been invited to the home of Nanny Lacey, a warm and inclusive older woman who loves telling a good story and has a talent for making miniature representations of some of her past adventures. Her daughter Bella, however, has adult pressures to deal with and little time for make believe. Nanny Lacey might be a loving mother with a flare for the fantastic but she’s getting older, has difficulty looking after herself and has outside pressure on her to move out, all of which she’s happy to ignore—leaving Bella to tend to everything. But Nanny Lacey has one more story to tell, and we the audience are going to be the ones to hear it.

Much will be made about the staging of Small Wonders. And this is fair enough—there is far more creativity to be found in its hour-long running time than most full-length plays and films. Nanny Lacey’s miniatures are genuine wonders and there’s far more happening in her flat than originally meets the eye, making it an actual wonder to behold.

But what makes the production so memorable isn’t the special effects or the second-half shift in the storytelling but the rich, emotional undercurrent that runs throughout. Dazzling as the staging is, the decision to creative a play for children that focuses on such themes as loss and rediscovery is not just a bold choice but results in a theatrical experience that is as emotionally stirring as it is magical.

Small Wonders performs at The Warehouse until June 2nd.

Tags: theatre

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