Platform, Glasgow

Mary Brennan


Hup - and away we go, into a forest clearing that's enclosed by cut-out perspex trees. It's home to a mischievous raccoon and it harbours a trio of musicians who will turn out to be every bit as playful ( as well as playing violins and a cello).

Hup - and away we go into a new collaboration between the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Starcatchers, especially devised for the very young. The intended age range is 0 to 24 months, and the emphasis is on soundscapes, visuals and story-telling that doesn't rely on spoken text. Instead, Hup delivers a frolicsome adventure in friendship and sharing the joys (and bushy tails) of a raccoon with a larky sense of humour and a love of nature.

Dressed in monotone from the black tip of her nose to her stripey-socked toes, Hazel Darwin-Edwards is an engagingly bouncy critter. (She is also Hup's co-creator along with composer Abigail Sinar). When we first encounter her, she's humming. Soon, she's percussing on the floor, and violinist George Smith is picking up the rhythm and moving it on, into a tune that has the lilt of a Scottish folk song. As it loops sweetly, a second violin chimes in (Abigail Sinar) and we're beguiled by harmonies. What emerges, with the addition of a cello (Andrew Huggan), is a lovely interaction between musical moods and rhythms and the little games that our lively raccoon initiates - it's almost a game in itself, spotting the cause and effect nature of the relationship.

Raccoon is cheerfully set on morphing the musicians into fellow furries - Smith introduces a gentle tension by acting the refusenik. He succumbs, nonetheless, as do the tinies who have regularly infiltrated proceedings in response to peek-a-boo play - or in serious pursuit of fluffy tails. If half-an-hour seems a test of their concentration, the reward is a constant flow of intriguing activity and enticing music - followed by some hands-on play for all. Watch you tails, folks!

on tour and at Imaginate - details at