Theatre

The Pine Tree, Poggle and Me, Platform, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

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FOUR STARS

He's a happy-go-lucky fella is Vince. Once he's got his yellow jacket on, crammed down a sandwich, blown a few happy-go-lucky bubbles, he's ready to go exploring in the forest. Uh-oh - there's a snag. Vince would love to climb trees, but he's too scared. Poggle-oggle-oggle-oggle - with a tinkling of bells, and some jolly, romp-about dance moves, Jade Adamson's Poggle sets about chumming Vince into having the kind of forest adventures he'd dreamed of, and that includes shinning up a pine tree. Simple story, yes - but this Barrowland Ballet production, devised and choreographed by Natasha Gilmore for the very young, goes a wonderfully imaginative extra mile in its mix of bouncy dance-theatre, cunningly versatile design, live music and audience participation. Some tots - the recommended age range is 1 to 4 years - don't actually wait to be asked: they're keen to get on-stage, and have fun with Adamson, Vince Vir and musician Daniel Padden who (representing the Pine Tree) branches out into vocals alongside percussion, chimes and ukelele, forging witty connections between sounds and movement.

For tinies who may only know forests from picture books, or TV screens, Fred Pommerehn's building blocks set is full of enticing flora and fauna surprises: the initial image of a woodland is moved around, new pictures of trees, pine cones and bees, rotate into view before finally the cubes become display cases for actual (artfully arranged) fragments of the nature that Poggle and Vince go leaping and skipping about in. By the end, we're wonderfully hands-on, helping to snuggle Poggle under her blanket of pine branches - so it smells gorgeous as well.