“Oh no, Snow Mouse, where are you?” screamed my toddler, as a dungaree-wearing mouse puppet with big, curious eyes disappears into cotton snow; a mouse that had been leaping and running and hiding and licking snow, alongside a new found friend in these white woods. “Eat it,” she said, as the Snow Mouse braved eating the snow. Other audience members were more musically vocal: shrieks and laughs, requests to cuddle the Snow Mouse, fast-paced races to the action onstage; some lying on cushions with eyes wide open, and others hiding in a parents’ jumpers.
Snow Mouse is a playful story of discovery for the very young; its insistence is on snow as a landscape both visual and emotional. The story itself sees a child eager to play in the snow, and his friendship with a little mouse keen to do the same. They share a meal, slip on ice, build (and tear down) a snowman, and explore. It’s a performance that warmly explores what it’s like to be lost in something you do not fully know and the thrill and excitement of small surprises. It’s a gentle, candid performance – subtly underscored by Alex Vann’s music.
Snow drapes the Barbican’s Pit: on soft cushions, pom-pom piles and mountains of cotton; this landscape means Snow Mouse and his friend (played by Frank Wurzinger) can search for scale – they go sledging and build a snowman, watch the horizon from the peak of a mountain, and walk into piles of snow to feel the cold. Puppets shape the space too, as Snow Mouse occasionally changes scale as they fly off one cliff and land on another. It’s a performance full of character, and care.
Snow Mouse is at the Barbican until December 23rd. For more details, click here.