A Small Story
To an adult eye, Fred Pommerehn's set design probably spells out domestic hell: the boxes and drawers that should be neatly lodged in the shelving unit up-stage are piled into hasty heaps - it's a mess. For two to four-year-olds- the target audience for this Starcatchers Scottish-German co-production - the exuberant clutter looks more like fun than a silent witness to frantic upheaval.
Whatever that event was - it's another story. This one - gently entitled A Small Story - sees Andy Manley and Ania Michealis, the Guardians in matching maroon uniforms, restore a caring calm and order to the chaos. In the process, they use the various objects they encounter to tell a series of everyday moments that encapsulate aspects of life itself.
There's little or no spoken text. Instead Danny Krass's amalgam of music and sounds underpins the vignettes with easy-to-follow clues: church bells and the wedding march attend the marriage of a frothy white wash scourer and a black enamel punch - whee! the groom even provides the flurry of confetti.
Two peppermills fall in love and have a baby, but the cleverly succinct scenarios don't shy away from the darker realities of life. The pepper mills visibly divorce, just as the glass cafetiere-beaker, which has come to the end of its useful life, is tenderly wrapped in cloth and coffined in a drawer while three teapots form a guard of honour.
Cups, jugs, glasses - familiar stuff all comes into play before being tidied away. But what lingers on is the power of imagination - regardless of age - to transform the ordinary into something dramatic or playful or talismanic. That imagination flourishes abundantly in Manley and Michaelis.