Paperbelle by Frozen Charlotte at Roe Valley Arts Centre

paperbelle casts a spell over hannah

Arts Correspondent Hannah reviews our visiting Paperbelle theatre event by Frozen Charlotte which was staged on 3 October. 

It’s not often that you find a children’s theatre production that enchants tots, teachers and parents alike, but Frozen Charlotte Productions managed to move even the most mature mums and dads to join in to look out for the elusive main character and the show’s namesake- Paperbelle.

Upon entrance to the Danny Boy Auditorium, the crowd of mostly pre-schoolers was met with a warm welcome from the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre staff and the friendly, approachable members of the Frozen Charlotte team. Curiously, upon stepping into the auditorium, we were all invited to remove our shoes before we entered the set (If you decide to watch this show, make sure you wear a matching set of socks!) Stepping into the set, I was overcome by a wave of grey, brown and cream fabric décor. Even the floor featured a carpet of tan material with chunky black tiles frantically scribbled onto them with what looked like thick permanent pen. The rest of the set seemed to burst with beige paper, decorated with furniture actually drawn onto the walls with thick permanent marker. We had stepped into a life sized children’s drawing! Seating was provided in the form of brown boxes and cream cushions, allowing the smaller children to manoeuvre around for a better view.

Paperbelle and Eric

As the lights went down and the show got under way, the first character we were introduced to was Eric, played by Stanley Pattison, who acted as our human connection between the world we are so used to and a two dimensional paper palace. His energetic acting style captures the attention of the children, drawing them into the story and allowing them to be a main part of Paperbelle’s world.

Slowly, colour starts to invade Eric and Paperbelle’s life, starting simply with a mischievous red bouncy ball. Scared by the sudden rush of colour, the friends hide in a cupboard, hoping that their monotonous normality will soon return, but the rush of colour keeps on coming, invading the set until almost every colour has its own colour. Even multicolour hankies hang from the ceiling, inviting the small children to jump up and try to grab them. There was even a musical performance on a bright yellow paper guitar by Eric and Paperbelle accompanied by the excited dancing of the young audience. The two friends slowly start to embrace the new found colour and openly adopt it into their lives. Paperbelle can even be seen with yellow hair, a red hat and blue shoes- formerly she was piece of line art, but now is completely transformed, perfectly fitting in with the set that was thoroughly doused in a rainbow of colour.

Paperbelle

Towards the end of the production, the whole audience were given the chance to take home their own little Paperbelle, in a choice of four colours (I chose to take home my very own blue ‘Belle!). This lovely little souvenir also doubled as a programme, giving more information about the show and everyone involved in its creation.

This unique production allows us to use our own imagination to give an inanimate object- a mere line drawing- a personality and its own identity. It is amazing to see how both children and adults are fascinated by the show, with Paperbelle herself, the creative use of colour throughout and the expressive sound to intrigue and excite the whole audience. Something that I think is worth mentioning is that the show thoroughly accounts for the needs of the younger audience by winding the show down slowly so that the kids are not overly hyper upon leaving, something which I feel a lot of children’s shows don’t consider.

This highly acclaimed theatre piece certainly lived up to the hype, providing a sense of wonder for the whole audience and, with the show running for just under an hour, it makes for the ideal treat for a young and busy family. However, Paperbelle is also well suited to a variety of different age ranges; I am 17 and would shamelessly say I would watch this show again, and will be keeping a keen eye out for more from Frozen Charlotte!

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This entry was posted on October 11th, 2013 at 1:34 pm by Desima

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