Review: Mayfest – The Assembly of Animals

Watched by Ellen Waddell at BV Studios on 25th May, 2014

A Dali inspired sheep appear through a tiny gap in a shiny red curtain. Children gasp in pleasure as the motorised creature makes it’s away across a small plinth, followed by a wiggly worm in a tiny tube. The curtain opens and it’s creator Tim Spooner appears, looming over the creatures like some kind of magnificent deity, ready to play. Four or five plinths are revealed, each one filled with similar looking strange creatures, tubes and UV liquids which, aided by his and his assistants steady hand, bounce from platform to platform to move, dance and be magnified by mirrors.
Each of the mirrored eyed creatures has a different trick up its sleeve; some wobble, some skate and some get blown off their plinths by giant looking hairdryers, and as the show escalates, and the creatures increase in size, so does the audiences anticipation over what their creator will make them do next. 

Tim is an artistic inventor, and uses basic physics and a surrealist imagination to create this carefully constructed world, the delicacy of which requires consistent marvelling and leaves children entertained throughout. The show, at 25 minutes, was the perfect length for little ones with limited attention spans, and the children were invited to examine the creatures after the performance. I enjoyed the totally bizarre nature of the piece, as well as the unnerving and constantly building soundtrack, which felt like a rejected proposal for the Magic Roundabout theme tune. In fact, the whole show in itself felt like a rejected Magic Roundabout pitch, dismissed by a strike of a hand and a suggestion that it was just ‘too odd,’ for kids, forgetting the fact that children love weird, they love to be surprised and they love wiggly worms running through tubes. 

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