Rules of Summer // Capital Events Theatre Review
Review by Erin Hutchinson
” Engaging and exciting storytelling…a true feast for the senses.”
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre have long had a reputation for engaging and exciting storytelling for both young and old, and the world premiere of Rules Of Summer is a beautiful example of this, offering the audience a true feast for the senses.
Adapted from the award winning picture book by Shaun Tan, Spare Parts bring the images off the page and onto the stage under the confident direction of Philip Mitchell, though the artists and designers involved all need major kudos here for their stunning work!
Rules Of Summer is a tale of two boys, one summer, and the lessons learned and shared through watching their relationship unfold. A relationship that all of the audience were able to connect with, and reminded me of the bonds between siblings whilst growing up, with all the love and conflict involved.
The show opens with a clever way of encouraging an audience to follow theatre rules, and connecting with the title and storyline of the play – the rules discovered one summer, rules that always must be followed, ‘especially if you don’t understand them’.
The actors (Allan Girod, Nick Pages Oliver, & Rebecca Bradley) do a wonderful job leading us through these rules with the use of the fabulous puppets, adjustable set, and torches, surrounding and involving the audience in the action. Their energy and expressive performances make watching their characters, and their puppets, an absolute joy.
The score (by Lee Buddle) and sound effects were extremely effective. There’s a predominant use of the sound and shadow of a raven carried through the play, seeming to trace the journey to its final rule, and lamenting the loss of youth and summer. Though unlike the gloomy outcome of Poe’s poem, the characters in this play come out from under the raven’s shadow and the audience is left feeling uplifted by the simple and magical story.
The sense of play on the stage was delightful, and the enjoyment of the audience was palpable, with parents reading aloud, children cackling and calling out with charming comments, as the performers guide us all through a tender and touching tale.
Spare Part Puppet Theatre promised us an immersive, interactive and multi-sensory puppetry work, and they sure delivered. This is one I’ll be encouraging all to attend, and maybe you’ll walk away with a few extra rules to add to your list – I know I did!