THE Big Idea, a family day at Tramway (in association with Imaginate), really flew the flag for home-grown children's theatre when it offered workshops, installations and work-in-progress showings for under-12s by up and coming Scottish artists.The Letter J only started devising Grandpa and Me a couple of weeks ago: you simply wouldn't know it from the beautifully-crafted, whimsical mosaic of music, movement and animation that they create on-stage.
A little girl (dancer Ruth Janssen, unaffectedly child-like and spontaneous) is missing her Grandpa...Where is he? Imagination takes over in episodes that see him at sea in a trawler – the Shipping Forecast song is a joy – or in a rocket to the moon, with the whole set transforming accordingly with animated projections. Judith Williams and Jon Bishop weave in the live music, but it's Janssen's blend of wistful wondering and exuberant "solutions" that touchingly suggest how youngsters (aged 5 to 8, in particular) adjust to the grief and loss of an absent, much-loved Grandpa.
Eilidh MacAskill (of Fish and Game) is in Glasgow. But Robert, her best friend, is in Australia. With live-wire sidekicks Murray Wason and Laura Bradshaw running here and there, alongside film footage of Robert in Oz, MacAskill explores how we define Near and Far – with distance not just something you can measure in miles, but an important part of relationships and personal identity.
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If this sounds like metaphysics for the 3+ age group, it's also a highly visual, fun-packed half-hour where coloured balls, Rolf Harris and joining in brings tinies closer to understanding the world around them.