Blue Block Studio/Yellow Valley
WHAT a difference a month, a week even, can make when you are under five. It is those degrees of developmental acumen that Starcatchers have responded to with shows running at Tramway until August 2 (not July 28).
In Blue Block Studio, Katy Wilson and her team have created a blissful chillout, look-listen-or-play zone for zero to two-year-olds and their parents. This is not a gather-up of toys from home: the self-contained cube is a wonderland of touchy-feely objects that lend themselves to hands-on exploration.
Mirrored surfaces, over-sized soft shapes and light boxes that can spangle the walls with kaleidoscopic colours provide a calm but intriguing environment where Kim Moore's music filters in different moods.
It's relaxing and reassuring. As is the presence of "artist host" Becki Gerrard who brings instances of interesting textures within the grasp of tinies who can discover the joy of plasticised material or begin to assess the difference between shapes that are round, oblong or pointy. There's no pressure to do anything than what your curiosity suggests.
Yellow Valley, created and directed by Xana Marwick, is where the two to four-year- olds get their imagination taken on a story-telling journey with a difference. Not just because little Kamwende and her family live in Africa, but because her encounter with an echo unfolds through a live soundscape conjured up by musicians-narrators Drew Wright and Dougie Hudson.
With no props to speak of, beyond their fascinating array of instruments, this affable duo take us "over the mountain, under the tree and along the river" to the valley where an unseen little minx keeps parroting Kamwende's words - and the barkings, moo-ings and baa-ings of her animal companions - right back. It's a vivid tapestry of sounds and rhythms, catchy songs and the kind of reiterations of words and actions little ones happily join in with.