The Way Back Home – Branar and Teater Refleksion
Dublin Theatre Festival Family Season at The Ark
Irish theatre company Branar team up with Danish Teater Refleksion to bring this adaptation of Oliver Jeffers The Way Back Home to the stage of the Ark over the weekend. This enchanting tale of a little boy whose plane breaks down on the moon and who meets a new friend who finds himself in the same predicament, is a piece about conquering the fear of the unknown.
Myself and 3 year old Mina headed into the Ark on Friday afternoon. We had read the book for the gazillionth time the night before to refresh the story in our memories in preparation for the event. The two puppeteers Aapo Repo and Neasa Ni Chuanaigh welcomed everyone to the show. When it began it was so mesmerizing that I actually felt tears springing to my eyes. The opening section is inspired by the aesthetics of the book, whilst not actually being part of the original story. Children and adults alike were enchanted as the boys bed took on the characteristics of a dog and the boy and his bed played catch with his pillow. You quickly forget that there are two people on stage moving the puppets as everyone gets engrossed in the story.
Everyone in the audience was familiar with the story so by the time the martian appeared, there had been a palpable, if not verbal, anticipation of the event! The original music and evocative design of Teater Refleksion’s Mariann Aagaard made this beautiful and imaginative story come alive on stage.
Although pitched in the Festival catalogue as suitable for 3+, the length of the piece might be too much to keep the very small smallies attention throughout. But for any fan of Jeffers work, either young or old, this is a must see.
The Way Back Home is on tour and is in the Riverbank Theatre Newbridge 10-11 October, Lime Tree Theatre Limerick 13-14 October, Baboro International Arts Festival for Children Galway 16-19 October, Draiocht Arts Centre Blanchardstown 21-22 October and Linehall Arts Centre Castlebar 24-25 October.