Inspector Sands and China Plate
In the Sherman’s second theatre, we delved under the sea where we were treated to a blown up version of sea life. The blue light and sound of bubbles and water immersed us into a tranquil and yet excited state; urged to sit as close to the action as possible, children were sat on cushions on the floor and a mixture of adults and children further back, in usual seats in this modernised amphitheatre.
Rock Pool is a tale of Crab and Prawn, who, through a freak storm are thrown together from the ocean to a small rock pool where they are forced to bond together. In this small space, Crab becomes hungry very often, resulting in trying to eat Prawn who reluctantly shares her lunch with Crab to salvage herself. Through this, they play games and live life, waiting for another wave to take them back home.
The production used basic lighting in the form of white washes and this becoming dimmed for night-time – spotlights were also used along with a big splash sound and the use of stools to climb upon to signify when they both look out the top of the rock pool towards the sea. This simplicity was really effective for a children’s show, focussing of the animated acting in front of us instead of fancy light effects.
The characters of Prawn and Crab were very well executed – Prawn (Lucinka Eisler) a tall, well postured character, came across as a geeky, intelligent and pristine figure, dressed in a combination of stripy pink, grey and white clothing, a see through rain mac and a fun, pink head-piece. Eisler kept her posture very strong and upright, with small arms with fiddly fingers to emphasise a Prawns legs. Crab (Giulia Innocenti) was in smaller statue and contorted herself into a ball-like figure. Wearing a red helmet which she banged when talking about how hard she was, this was nicely followed with a comical ‘ouch’ in return and red gillet to beef her out. In comparison to Prawn, she was a less intelligent and less knowledgeable creature. Innocenti’s movements were squat, sideways, with crab like hands, a posture which she managed to keep throughout. With this contrast, they were able to bond with teaching one another and having fun through the process. Both actors worked well as a team, with over exaggerated facial expressions and almost melodramatic movements, they brought the piece to life. They also professed very good improv skills to interact with the audience and play upon suggestions given.
Comedy was provided throughout for both adults and children. Examples of these being, Crab’s attempts to eat Prawn with BBQ tongs – the moment when water is desperately needed to stop Prawn from cooking in the shrinking rock pool, resulting in lots of water play, splashing the nearby audience with this as well as the constant use of human objects and items to bring more understanding to the audience, helping with a comical moment of Crab’s boredom where she dresses and acts like a ‘lady’.
The bitter-sweet ending where Crab and Prawn return to the sea, yet whose friendship is now torn apart by reality gave us a sense of sadness and but hope with knowing that anyone can bond for even a split second. We are revived after this by a song and dance at the end; a technique we were also treated throughout with the lovely singing voices of both actors, showing their collaboration and budding friendship again in their own small ‘rock group.’
For a children’s show, I found myself laughing and enjoying every moment, along with many other adults whose, perhaps, like myself, childhood’s were revisited.