Review: Really Big and Really Loud (Paines Plough, online)

Showing online on YouTube for free until 25 April, Really Big and Really Loud is a Paines Plough production, written by Phoebe Eclair-Powell and directed by Katie Posner.

It is Charli’s story, as she loses her voice and heads off on a big adventure to find it again. According to the blurb, it “features a rageful rhino, a very helpful fly called Stephen and some really good songs about chips”.

A family show at 54 minutes long, it boasts committed performances throughout from a talented trio – Nathan Queeley-Dennis (currently wowing audiences on stage at the Kiln in Paines Plough’s musical Black Love), Leah St Luce and Eleanor Sutton.

Sutton is Charli, while the other pair slip between a range of different characters, both real and fantastical. Really Big and Really Loud is an energetic, intelligent and funny piece of theatre for families big and small.

Eleanor Sutton in Really Big and Really Loud

Charli’s inner voice presented in recording and mime is clever (“life’s no fun when you can’t be loud”), and the segue into the world of talking animals (in the zoo) and constant peril is very effective within the touring company’s Roundabout tent.

With set (Lydia Denno), sound (Kieran Lucas), lighting/video effects (Gillian Tan) and excellent use of movement (Kloe Dean), it conveys what it is to be a child in a confusing world, and the power and potency of imagination.

In a way, this is another way of saying “there’s no place like home” and it is a very enjoyable piece of children’s theatre.

As for the accessibility of the digital recording, I continue to champion and applaud companies and venues that do this. Increasing your reach both nationally/internationally and to groups who may not be natural theatre attendees continues to be crucial.

You can watch this recording of Really Big and Really Loud for free until 25 April – follow the link to YouTube.

Image credit: Marc Brenner

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