Lockdown reviews: White

Created by Andy Manley, White, a production by Catherine Wheels Theatre (a company based in Scotland), was streamed several times over the Easter break, with final performances on Monday.

Set and costumes are white: the former being a succession of bird houses at different heights, plus a tent constructed on white material and garnished with clothes the two characters use at different points in this thirty-minute piece.

Aimed at pre-schoolers, this uses musical bits and pieces plus props (all white, of course), and sound effects. Children love the absurd; they also appreciate not being talked down to. White achieves both of these while retsining a sense of magic and wonder at the world.

Production photo from White by Douglas McBride
Production photo from White by Douglas McBride

An original story first staged in 2010, and here directed by Gill Robertson, White plays with the imagination of both the young and the young at heart, with shapes, sounds, and sensations to keep the little ones interested and amused.

Cotton (Michael Dylan) and Wrinkle (Ian Cameron) are our guides to this weird world, and they are a delightful pair, as caught up in the space as their young guests, their expressions caught by the camera’s regular use of mid shots and close-ups.

They resemble garden gnomes or cherubs wauting for their wings, or scavenging seagulls. The set design, by Shona Reppe, gives a snow glow across a world which is endlessly inventive and surprising.

There’s a bin for the rare item that isn’t white, and a routine which goes from morning into night. And night, as even the smallest child will know, causes strange dreams and odd situations.

Ian Cameron and Andy Manley in White. Image credit Douglas McBride.
Ian Cameron and Andy Manley in White. Image credit Douglas McBride.

This is a justifiably award-winning piece which is beautifully crafted and paced. Craig Fleming’s lighting design, drawing attention to different parts of the world, and Danny Krass’s deceptively simple compositions, deserve special note.

White is streaming on YouTube for a final set of performances on Monday. Follow CWheelsTheatre for more details.