There’s nothing more delightful than watching a child’s face as the lights dim in an auditorium and a show begins – and delightfulness is exactly what Ga Ga Theatre’s production of Quentin Blake’s Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave is full of.
From the moment you take your seats, you are instantly enthralled by the two protagonists already on stage, thoughtfully cutting out paper shapes with giant scissors, accompanied by the sound of the sea swooshing and a sea shanty tinkling in the background.
A giant screen projects images of a swaying cartoon sea and all the images stay true to the style of the book and the distinctive illustrations of Blake.
At once we are welcomed into this surreal fictional world, where line drawings of Mrs Armitage and her dog Breakspear are infused with colour, collected on giant paint brushes from the audience and characters are conceived using giant cardboard cut-outs.
The uncomplicated narrative sees Mrs Armitage waiting in the sea to surf on the big wave with Breakspear.
It is in this waiting that the fun begins as the characters brave the elements, their hunger and even rescue a drowning girl.
Co-founder and Co-producer Katie Russell, the Jewish half of Ga Ga Theatre, has produced a charming show that will not only ignite imagination but unearth a slew of questions.
What’s special about Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave and what differentiates it from many other children’s productions is that there is no inclusion of a moral undertone in the narrative.
Instead this show provides an introduction to the fun and magic of theatre and how when you are allowed to suspend your disbelief, anything is possible – which for a young theatregoer is the best gift that can be given.
Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave tours London theatres until 30 October. Details: www.gagatheatre.co.uk