Review: Finding Percy Erebus, Elephant Talk Theatre, By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Some say that we are asking children to grow up too soon. We open the World to them at too young an age and expect a lot from them. But in some instances, it is so important for children to learn the ways of life.

It is an age old saying that families think it is important to have pets in a child’s life to learn many important lessons of responsibility or love, but mostly to learn about death and losing someone.

Finding Percy Erebus is a different way of explaining this fact of life. An 8 year old child’s friend Percy passes away, and we go through a mysterious World, with many mysterious characters on the search for Percy. Really this is a tale teaching children about love and loss, about growing up and how the world changes.

There’s no messing around with this play. We are introduced to the loss of Percy straight away, leaving the rest of the play to develop from the child’s mind and how they are coping. This is punctuated with comical characters, magic and a complimenting score. Music is often upbeat at the beginning, and with a plink and a plonk; very child like and easy. But soon the music turns dark or into a soundscape to signal the more grown up aspects and the learning moments.

Elephant Talk Theatre have chosen for all voices to be prerecorded. This is helpful for children when they can hear a child’s voice instead of an adult mimicking; the same with adult voices that perhaps mirror their parents or people they know.

The set and props are really simple, which is nice to see in a children’s play. Usually these genres feel the need to fill the stage with colours and sounds and objects that they recognise. However, the minimal bits represent important parts of the story, and the rest are mimed, allowing children to use their imagination but remember the really important items for later on.

Finding Percy Erebus is fun, it is magical, but most importantly is bringing the facts of loss to children in an easy way to understand.

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