Vault Festival: Sky in the Pie


Crescent at The Vaults, Leake Street Tunnels, Waterloo.


6-8 Mar, 3.15pm and 6.15pm.


Poetry by Roger McGough, created by Feathers of Daedalus Circus.


Ludo Helin and Rebecca Solomon in Sky in the Pie. Image by Mark Neal.
Ludo Helin and Rebecca Solomon in Sky in the Pie. Image by Mark Neal.

“The poetry of Roger McGough explodes from the page to the stage in this fantastical circus and puppetry adventure … join a day-dreaming girl for one amazing day where she discovers the extraordinary in the ordinary wherever she goes”.


Sky in the Pie is a magical hour of verse, circus, puppetry and music for the young and young at heart, created and performed by Feathers of Daedalus Circus.

The five performers start as schoolchildren and their teacher, then branch out into the stories around McGough’s deceptively simple poems about school, dinnertime, bullying, sleep and nightmares, language, animals and growing up.

This is one of those shows which takes us back to carefree days where a cat burglar steals cats and scarecrows give you nightmares. Where rhyme becomes a weapon or a shield and monsters hide under the bed.

The company of Sky in the Pie. Image by Mark Neal.
The company of Sky in the Pie. Image by Mark Neal.

McGough’s verse inspires set pieces from puppets that take on personalities, to hand balancing and hoop spinning feats (from Ludo Helin, who also juggles, and Josh Frazer, respectively). The circus aspects of this show keep the visual interest going and look so effortless.

Rebecca Solomon’s little girl caught up in the rush of the first day of school (“teacher, the one who makes the tea”) and Max Young’s McGough surrogate who provides the music provide strong characterisations to their pieces, and Rosie Rowlands is good as a string of grown-up figures.

Finishing with the reflective “Tomorrow Has Your Name On It”, Sky in the Pie is infused throughout with just a sprinkle of McGough’s mix of childhood curiosity and grown-up realism.

Judgement: Wow, Meow, or Furred Brow?

It’s a Wow for Sky in the Pie. I’ll tell you why. It plays with words. It sings like birds. It lets you be young once more. It has a lovely music score. It proves that poetry can be fun. It has a bloke with his hair in a bun. It celebrates the bookish swot. It doesn’t try to be what it’s not. It’s simply sweet and yet profound. And it takes place underground!

LouReviews received a complimentary ticket to see Sky in the Pie.