Bristol Old Vic

Chloe And The Colour Catcher

December 2018

A seasonal play for small people

Wow! This is a bit scary, but the children loved it - that is except for one frightened little girl who took temporary refuge in the foyer.

On the afternoon I went two classes from Headley Park Primary School filled the front row and floor space in the amazing and newly refurbished Bristol Old Vic.

The youngsters were held mesmerised by the show which has all the great ingredients of music, movement and magical sequences. 

It wasn’t as scary as some Grimm’s Fairy Tales but a child losing its arm in the mutilation machine was - if you forgive the pun - a bit near the bone!

Never-the-less it is a brilliant, thought provoking production - full marks.

Chloe And The Colour Catcher contains no smut which - with many so-called family pantos full of innuendoes about big boobs and the like - is a very pleasant change.

This is Ad Infinitum’s very first Christmas show for children.

Following on from their Edinburgh sell-out hit No Kids, Nir Paldi and his gang of local creatives transformed the brand-new Weston Studio into a vibrant world of colour and rhyme. 
The tale of bravery and self-expression is devised for four to seven-year olds and tells the story of Chloe’s courageous fight against Her Greynesty, the Colour Catcher.

Children are not only entertained but learn a lot about alliteration with all the ‘grey’ based words and get an early lesson on how power corrupts.

The set is minimal – four moveable blocks and four lithe actors multi-tasking.

Charlotte Dubery is Chloe; Hanora Kamen is mum, Grandma Magenta and Greycy; Peter Edwards is dad, Greyvina and Her Greynesty; and musician Brian Hargreaves plays Greyson.

Peter who is now based in London trained with the Bristol Old Vic and was once a leading light with Nailsea Little Theatre. 

After the bleak beginning all the cheery colours of the rainbow feature and the children get a political lesson in how to fight for what you believe in.

The puppetry used for the cat – a head and a tail - is adorable capturing purrfect feline mannerisms.

When Chloe sleeps wrapped in a cuddly grey blanket her colourful imagination runs riot but you will have to go and see the play to find out if all her dreams come true.

Nailsea drama teacher Lynda Dicks came with me to see the performance.

She said: "It was amazing, the use of space and percussion instruments, musically it was excellent.

"I love the flow, the way they worked together with the feeling of rhythm and movement - the actors performed like trained dancers.

"It was very political for such young children and I would liked to have known what inspired this - big brother communism with its uniforms and drab lack of colour?

"But it really the enthralled the KS1 children for 50 minutes and although it was a rather dark story children like dark stories.

"The use of the cubes as props was a simple and effective idea.

"I would recommended this to friends with young children - well done Bristol Old Vic."

The finale had all the excited small people in the audience throwing rainbow coloured balls onto the stage.

Chloe And The Colour Catcher plays until Sunday, January 6 with morning and afternoon performances.

Tickets £13.50 adults, £8.50 children plus group concessions click HERE.

Carol Deacon

PHOTOS: Paul Blakemore

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