RachelWilliams

CLOUDMAN | STAGE REVIEW

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Sherman Cymru

Tues 30 Oct

Words: Harriet Hopkins

★★★★★

Creating a new legend, even a new fairytale,  is not an easy feat. However, if you head down to Sherman Cymru this half term, you will witness a performance doing just that.

With a set that’s marshmallow-soft, the design for Cloudman evokes a delicate magic: its use of white fluffy clouds, a silvery mountain top and light gold flooring, creates smoothness and warmth that are both comforting and exciting before a word is spoken.

Against this backdrop, Cloudia tells of her fascinating journey to find a Cloudman – something she has been determined to do since she heard of Cloudmen as a child. Jen Edgar tells the story of Cloudia’s trip to Cloud Mountain with delightful vigour and great comedic timing: using mime and expressive movement, she manipulates the innovatively simple set and props in time with the soundtrack. Created by Niroshini Thambar and Nik Paget-Tomlinson, the sound is equally as impressive as Edgar adding to the subtle realism that makes this piece work.

Edgar’s delivery, along with such cleverly designed props and an ingenious costume (cleverly reflecting her trainspotter-like personality) has the grown-ups giggling as much as the children.

Her story is gripping and enjoyable as she describes and re-enacts the lengths she has gone to in her search. The awe and enjoyment of the whole audience is captured anew when we meet the short, round Cloudman as he emerges from his cloud home to explore Cloudia’s hut, scientific utensils and, his clear favourite, her biscuit tin…

The small and somewhat adorable puppet is operated entirely by Edgar, who lends her comic timing and ease of movement to the puppetry, making every action or decision he makes a joy to witness; the interplay between Cloudia and the Cloudman is gentle and funny. Despite his simplicity, Cloudman’s personality and character are vivid and it’s impossible not to start believing in the legend that he may well become.

Like all good children’s stories, the language is easy to follow with a sense of  repetition that brings the story full circle, reminding the young audience of where we started 45 minutes before, adding to its fairytale style.

A simple idea and generously delivered, Cloudman is a show that slots effortlessly into the psyche of the mainly young audience and invigorates the imagination of the adults, ensuring everybody present takes part in the journey to find that ethereal creature, the Cloudman.

Cloudman is at Sherman Cymru until Sat 3 Nov, performances are at 11am and 2pm.

Tickets: £7. Info: 029 2064 6900 / www.shermancymru.co.uk

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