MamaBabaMe is a gorgeous show for children aged 0 to 3 and their adults. Through dance and music, it explores the unique relationship between babies and the people who look after them. It keeps 26 babies, ranging in age from those who are extremely small to confident toddlers, happily engrossed for 45 minutes. And in the dimly lit room with a gentle, almost meditative soundscape, provides brief respite for many a weary parent.
Everything about this show is child-friendly. From the baby-height, tactile set – designed by Yvonne Buskie – and the carpeted floor we’re invited to sit on through to the gentle lighting and colourful, carefully choreographed story that unfolds. We meet two dancers who are alternately babies and role-reversing parents and babies. Hayley Earlam and Nerea Gurrutxaga are pitch-perfect, gambolling about the space, charmingly recreating babies discovering their toes, exploring the space between themselves and their carers and expressing their independence.
Accompanied by Robin Mason, most often on the cello, a mix of live and pre-recorded music by Greg Sinclair illustrates their voyage of adventure along with balloons, a beautifully bouncing mobile and all the surprises that the set has in store.
The show has plenty to keep parents entertained too. The “let’s gets dressed” sequence is greeted by a hollow laugh by one adult audience member who perhaps took longer than anticipated to get out of the house this morning. The adult performers perfectly emulate the wide eyes and tentative steps of the onlooking children in a way that’s wholly delightful to behold.
As ever with a show with such a large audience of very small children, the occasional gurgle or wail disrupts the tranquility but all tribute to the performers and Christine Devaney, the show’s creator, these are few and far between. Most of the children prop themselves up against the set and stand (or flop) rapt for the duration. As captivating as the show is, there’s also something delightful about watching the children watching it. Hats off to Starcatchers and Curious Seed for creating such a wonderful and wonderfully observed addition to this year’s Fringe offering for children.