Untitled.jpg
Reviews/Theatre

Up, up and away!

5 October 2017

Review: Polar Bears Go Up ◆
Awesome Festival, Heath Ledger Theatre, 5 October ◆
Reviewed by Nina Levy ◆

Polar Bears Go Up opened to a small but enthusiastic audience of under-6s and their accompanying adults on Wednesday morning. There’s no question that this whimsical work hits the nail on the head with its target audience.

Created and performed by Eilidh MacAskill and Fiona Manson, Polar Bears Go Up is a simple tale. There’s a tall bear (MacAskill), a small bear (Manson), and a shiny, floating, golden star. When the star escapes into the ether, the polar bears must go… up!

Tracking that runaway star. Photo: Richard Davenport

Clad in all manner of furry accoutrements, topped with goggles, MacAskill and Manson are utterly delightful. Back-scratching, tummy-rumbling, spoon-and-cup drumming antics are all highly relatable and entertaining to young viewers and parents. The duo’s cartoon-like facial expressions and gestures lend a touch of slapstick to the proceedings, while Greg Sinclair’s whimsical score turns milk-bottles into pan-pipes and plates into DJ turntables.

The bear-pair come up with increasingly outlandish ways to reach their lofty goal, with plenty of laughs along the way for young and old alike, as they bounce and boogie their way to the top. Sinclair’s evocative soundscape beautifully illustrates the airy, buoyancy of the stratosphere, the rumbling drama of a rocket.

The bear-pair come up with increasingly outlandish ways to reach their lofty goal. Photo: Richard Davenport.

Of course, the best way to judge a work for children is by the opinions of those children. My two-and-a-half year old companion voted with her feet, choosing to remain pressed against the seat-backs of the row in front of us for most of the 50 minute work… as close as she could get to the action. Thoroughly engaged, she had many suggestions for the furry players.

Gentle and magical, Polar Bears Go Up is perfectly pitched for the two to fives.

Polar Bears Go Up plays until 7 October.

Top photo: Richard Davenport

Like what you're reading? Support Seesaw.

Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked for over a decade as an arts writer and critic. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. Nina was co-editor of Dance Australia magazine from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

Past Articles

  • Tectonic shifts and new foundations

    The new director of Fremantle Arts Centre, Anna Reece, takes Nina Levy inside her career and her former role at Perth Festival, revealing why she thinks this year’s home-grown Festival was a hit, and her vision as the next leader of a much-loved WA arts institution.

  • Excellence is in our backyard

    Nina Levy says Structural Dependency is yet more proof we don’t need to import world-class contemporary dance companies – they’re already here.

Read Next

  • Four performers lean over their instruments with an image projected on the wall behind of a messy 90s office scene Exploring the periphery of musical narrative
    Reviews

    Exploring the periphery of musical narrative

    12 April 2021

    Audible Edge Festival of Sound is underway and Eduardo Cossio reviews ‘Serf Punk’, a concert that explores representation and meaning – and its absence.

    Reading time • 5 minutesMusic
  • a young man with flowers in his hair and face painting holds a dragon puppet in his hand Where fairies dance and dragons lurk
    Kids

    Where fairies dance and dragons lurk

    12 April 2021

    The Beyond Realms is a new children’s theatre group making magic at the Subiaco Arts Centre Junior reviewers Isabel and Eddy Greentree review their school holiday show.

    Reading time • 5 minutesTheatre
  • A woman with short dark hair holds mallets in her hand as she plays toms and a marimba, behind her is the back of the conductor as he faces the orchestra Heroic women in hefty concert
    Reviews

    Heroic women in hefty concert

    12 April 2021

    Wonder woman Claire Edwardes was the star of the night with a monumental performance with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. And Tiffany Ha says there’s room for plenty more classical music heroines.

    Reading time • 5 minutesMusic

Leave a comment

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio