4 February 2017
Reviewed by Kathryn Carr
I moved to Huddersfield just over a year ago, however it wasn’t until last weekend that I got round to paying the town’s Lawrence Batley Theatre a visit. I still feel I haven’t quite made it, as the show I went to see was performed in the Attic Theatre rather than in the main auditorium which has 477 seats compared to the space in the rafters which only accommodates an audience of up to 60. Nevertheless, the Attic Theatre was suitably snug for the production of ‘The Adventures of Pom’.
From an adult perspective, the story didn’t seem to go anywhere but as a parent, it was clear the tale went everywhere it should for the intended audience of 0-4 year olds. At first, I was concerned my active 21-month-old wasn’t going to be suitably engaged and get all wriggly, but be it the calming music or the soothing tones of Early Years Storyteller and Performance Artist Ruthie Boycott-Garnett, my little worm sat perfectly still, engaged by the moving images of a light box and puppet Pom. The seating plan helped, with the option to take a pew or plonk yourself on the floor, right in the heart of the action. Sat on Mum’s knee on a mat, tub of blueberries in hand, the informality and understanding nature of the whole set-up ensured my daughter felt comfortable in her surroundings.
The Adventures of Pom is a sensory feast which culminates with an invited stage invasion, where the audience get to explore a whole host of boxes filled with real, plastic and woollen vegetables! The food-themed play session was a lovely addition to the actual performance which also encouraged the youngsters to engage their senses with the handing out of shakers, reflective pebbles and woolly hats. I believe the story of Pom is based on the Greek myth Persephone, but I’m none the wiser as to what that could possibly be about. A girl. An open door that leads to an icy underworld. The realisation that she’s lost her Mum. A happy, huggy ending set in Spring. The lack of storyline is perhaps only prominent to an adult audience who in this instance take the back seat. It’s the kids who will truly ‘get’ this performance and I must say, it was a joy to watch my daughter be enchanted by the superb, sparkly simplicity of it all.
I would have to give the show a 4 out of 5.
I’ll definitely be paying The Lawrence Batley another visit. The ‘Imagine’ arm of the venue provides fresh, fascinating and interactive productions that offer little ones an ideal, gentle introduction to theatre. Over the coming months, there’s the opportunity to take the younger members of your household to see The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Dogs don’t do Ballet, Jack and the Beans Talk and Dinosaur Detectives. As a guideline, the Adventures of Pom cost just £7 for a child and accompanying adult (additional adults £3). The Imagine Saver allows you to book three children’s shows and get 10% off, or get a 15% discount by booking four.
Located in the heart of Huddersfield town centre with a multi-storey car park almost next door and the bus and train station both just a 10 minute walk away, the Lawrence Batley theatre is ideally placed for a convenient and easy trip. The theatre is fully accessible and has won an ADAPT award for ‘Best practice in access for disabled people’.
The theatre offers so much more on top of its excellent provision for children and whether its opera, drama, music, comedy or dance that floats your boat, it’s certainly seems to be a place of adventure and discovery, with something for everyone.
You can download a full programme, join the e-mailing list and book tickets at www.thelbt.org.
The Adventures of Pom is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.adventuresofpom.com.
For other shows at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield visit www.thelbt.org.
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen’s Square, Queen Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2SP