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Nest | Polka Theatre

Piper and Birtle (the crows) take us on a journey of nature and nurture as they begin to curate their first home together. Soon they have two more members in their family, and it all starts to get a little crowded. Allow yourself to tune out the noise of the city, and be calmed by the peacefulness and joy this pair bring.

On the note of tranquillity, if you have little ones that are easily overstimulated, or are worried they may not sit through the whole 45 minutes, this show was made for you. The actors (Cynthia Emeagi and Emily Spowage) exude confidence and control at all times, inviting the audience to watch and think, rather than jump about, giving grown ups a chance to enjoy the show too. There are, of course, also a few moments thrown in for the adults to enjoy, so you can try and spot these throughout. 

Choreography (directed by Simone Lewis) is repeated multiple times to recap what has already happened, and also to provide different channels of storytelling for those who process information differently. M6 Theatre have definitely done this right, as there is a plethora of sound, dance, spoken word, and stillness to engage all the senses and really create a separate world. This feeling is supported by Mark Melville’s work which creates an atmosphere that matches the tone of the play at all times - be this fright, excitement, or contentment. 

The whole script (Gilly Baskeyfield) is written in such a way that we are taken on a gentle emotional rollercoaster while encouraged little ones to reflect on the life skills they are currently learning (patience, empathy, and responsibility), and grown ups to reflect on the journey we take to teach them these things. It definitely provokes conversation about important emotions, and will prove as a good reference for real life situations long after you have left the theatre. The minimal dialogue means that there is a verbal focus on the plot line, while character development is furthered by the delivery of this story, and the costumes (by Sharon McWilliams). Although the birds’ attire is identical, the way they sit in their clothes (well, feathers) and use the props that are attached to them are totally different and is what really allows their separate personalities to shine through. 

Joss Matzen has designed a simplistic and clever set that facilitates moments of ‘theatre magic’ which really bring the nest to life. You get to watch the space evolve and change, while there is always something else going on, not leaving you time to dwell on what you just saw. It adds some adventure and humour to what starts off quite a sombre piece with Adam Carree’s shadow puppetry, where lighting is used beautifully to set the scene. This is a silent section, however can be universally understood by anyone watching, which is a feat to be applauded in itself before even considering the level of love and detail that went into it. 

Touring the country until the start of November, it is definitely one to catch for any family. The gender neutrality of the characters and their language means that the show speaks to all households and dynamics, so everyone will feel seen in one way or another. It really is a lovely experience and I’d label it as very high quality children's theatre. Nest is a heartwarming piece that asks both grown ups and young ones alike to consider what it is we need to grow. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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