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The Secret Life of Suitcases Macrobert, Stirling

A BELL pings, paperwork pops up, office-worker Larry reads it, vigorously rubber-stamps it.

Done! And so it goes, day in day out.

Colleagues offer tea, coffee - even a milk shake - but these distractions are brushed aside. No wonder the little business-suited puppet - brought engagingly to life by Ailie Cohen and Rick Conte - is blankly grey-faced.

His entire being is subsumed in being so busy-busy-busy, he has no time for anything else, friends included.

Out there in the cosmos, however, his drab existence is a cause of concern for the watchful quarks - does Stephen Hawking know they're really fluffy-muppet-y puppets?

They've been sending Larry suitcases full of sunshine and laughter since he was a kid.

They all bounced back, unopened until now - for when a wee blue case arrives at work, the conscientious Larry just has to open it.

The script, by Cohen and Lewis Hetherington, takes Larry on a fantastical life-changing journey from park, to desert island paradise to outer space. The delivery of these adventures, however, is in the deft hands of Cohen and Conte as they whisk all kinds of colourful artefacts and locations from inside boring brown desks and cabinets - they even wear Larry's destinations on their chests, changing illustrated t-shirts to match place, and space.

For young audiences, aged five-plus, the sheer craft and invention that Cohen weaves into the design details is a constant stream of delightfully quirky surprises, but older children and adults will relish the droll humour, the word play and the message that we all need time to stand and stare - or, like Larry, get out more.

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