Tuesday, March 5

Motionhouse: Starchitects – Birmingham Hippodrome

The Hippodrome is awash with young, vibrant faces each peering curiously into the gaping chasm of the empty auditorium daunted by its size unaware what they are about to see will blow their minds.

Louise Richards and Kevin Finnan founded MotionHouse in 1988 and since its inception it has created an array of world-class, breath-taking circus-danced productions which have toured the globe integrating physicality, acrobatics, strong story and dynamic sound. “Starchitects” is no exception.

Opening in a child’s bedroom, young buoyant dancers, each clad in child-like pyjamas, strive try to stave off their night time boredom by inventing games using cardboard boxes to create cars, tricks and, more importantly, a space rocket. So far, so predictable. Many kids shows employ cardboard boxes evolving into elements of the play, but this is different. The opening sequence, which admittedly is a little longer than it needs to be, soon modulates in something very special. The boxes, of course, come to life and before long our pyjama-astronauts are hurling through digitally projected outer space in a sequence of deftly and inventively handled dances. The integration of the digital and dance it so perfectly married as to be seamless and the young, vibrant faces sat agog and entranced throughout.

The blasting rocket deposits our space-clan on an otherworldly planet encountering a strange multi-limbed creature who would not have been out of place on an early muppet show and provides for a bright and joyous routine. Jeopardy is not far behind as they encounter falling rocks and a peculiar fire god with a very nice collar.

It’s only 55 mins but pops, fizzes and explodes with delightful invention and creation without once patronising its young audience. The music was, perhaps, little loud for young ears and drowned out the applause and cheers which regularly emerged from the audience, but it was packed with ideas to stimulate and engaged the most demanding of youngster and full of fun for grown-ups, too. https://www.motionhouse.co.uk/

Reviewer: Peter Kinnock

Reviewed: 3rd February 2023

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★