We Are All Just Little Creatures

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Neil Cooper

Four stars

HERE they come, some thirty-odd performers sashaying their way through the glitzy curtain that frames the stage, or else waking up in the middle of what might well be an even crazier dream that brings them out into the open to go wild. Bringing together the criss-crossing panache of three theatre companies - Curious Seed, Lung Ha and Lyra – this movement-based extravaganza is a cradle to grave romp through life’s everyday jungle that unleashes a living menagerie of delight.

At the back of the stage, live artist Yvonne Buskie makes a mini mural of wise-eyed owls on Karen Tennent’s set that leaves enough space for everyone to play with choreographed abandon. And play they do, as, accompanied by David Paul Jones and Kevin Lennon’s joyous live piano and guitar score and bathed in Simon Wilkinson’s shimmering lights, bodies in rest and motion proceed to jump, dance, sing and throw shapes in various permutations for dear unadulterated life.

As overseen by Christine Devaney of Curious Seed, Maria Oller of Lung Ha and Lyra’s Jo Timmins, the result is a physical riot of desires made flesh in a transformative fashion that looks like Buskie’s paintings have come to life in a tumble of attitude and élan. With Lung Ha’s regular ensemble augmented by three dancers and seven of Lyra’s eight-to-ten-year-old ‘Delight Collectors’, such a mesh of generational experience creates an all-embracing and genuinely radical aesthetic.

Pulsed along by Jones and Lennon, each little vignette evolves into a glorious evocation of a life-cycle’s highs and lows, with a near Beckettian determination to go on no matter what. It is the small things that count here, the barely-there everyday epiphanies we all share rather than grand gestures. As the sheer ordinariness of the former are writ large, they become something transcendent in a show which itself is a matter of life and death as magic moments take flight.