Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Scrapbooks are full of personal stories, of snippets of memories so important that the owner has deemed it worthwhile collecting all mementos in one place, with the end result being a book that only the creator can decipher. But fear not, because scraps expert Dr Patricia Baker (Shona Reppe) is here to uncover the mysteries of the hundred year old scrapbook of Artemus J Mood as he finds love. From life as a seaweed-obsessed bachelor to someone who begins collecting small objects and photos of himself with his seemingly invisible new love, Dr Baker takes us through a scientific analysis of Artemus’ scrapbook to uncover a tiny but surprising story.
From puppet theatre company, Shona Reppe Puppets, there’s a distinct lack of anything resembling a puppet here, which, although unexpected, doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the production. Short film projections by Jonathan Charles tie in with the plot seamlessly, while Danny Krass’ music adds a charming earthiness that reflects the Victorian timescale. Performer and creator Reppe’s carefully woven tale manages to capture the audiences’ attention throughout – no doubt because of her experience in keeping children engaged – which is interesting given that kids are few and far between in an auditorium packed full of eager adults. There’s enough detail in the multitude of props without being overwhelmed, leaving ample room for an active child-like imagination to piece together the finishing touches of what is a sweet little play.
Understated and delicate, this is a simple but carefully crafted feel-good production that will keep the inner child in each of us entertained in a world of happy fantasy – before it’s time to wrap up warm and return to the hard and normal-sized slog of the real world.