Show review by Julia Pattison: I Am Turtle at Pocklington Arts Centre

I am Turtle by Norwich Puppet Theatre.
I am Turtle by Norwich Puppet Theatre.

Play: I Am Turtle

Venue: Pocklington Arts Centre

Review by: Julia Pattison

Based on the lyrical children’s song “Turtle’s Song” written by Alan Brown and illustrated by Kim Toft, The Makeshift Ensemble theatre company, with support from Norwich Puppet Theatre told their own version of the Sea Turtles ancient song, during the May half term at Pocklington Arts Centre.

On buying a ticket you could also book a workshop place for your child before the show, free of charge, a great offer that was eagerly taken up by many youngsters.

My three year old grandson Bram thoroughly enjoyed creating his own model turtle along with the other youngsters, led by warm and welcoming cast members Laurence and Jac.

My granddaughter Wren celebrated her first birthday that day, so my daughter had brought along a delicious Turtle birthday cake to share, which we all enjoyed while creating! Perhaps though, in keeping with the message of environmental responsibility, the use of glitter could be avoided, and sparkly recycled sweet wrappers used instead?

Anyway, a most successful workshop was then followed by the show in the main auditorium; a delightful Ocean backdrop, with suitable sea sound effects, and subdued lighting created just the right atmosphere to introduce us to the ancient song of the Sea Turtles.

For quite a while, Jac and Laurence used facial and physical gestures to a sound track, then Laurence picked up his guitar, and Jac began playing on the accordion, and our delve into the deep blue sea began.

I loved the lyrical language as we were told about the life of a Green Turtle from hatching beneath the sand of a coral beach, through wanderings at sea to adulthood and returning to lay eggs of its own. The use of puppetry was stunning, with wonderful interaction with the audience; both young and older were enchanted by Great Uncle Archie Turtle, and cheeky young Pocket Turtle.

“Tides roar in my blood. Surf pounds in my heart“, you couldn’t help but take these beautiful creatures to your heart, wanting only the best for them, and the chance for them to thrive, safe from the dangers of plastics and beasts of the deep. Anything that encourages us all to keep the sea plastic free is a good thing; catch ’em young, to get the message through!

Afterwards, the children and their families were invited to meet Great Uncle Archie and Pocket, with Laurence and Jac making this a delightful follow on to the show.

They showed infinite patience and inspired imaginative thoughts in the awed youngsters, making it a magical theatre experience they’ll remember forever, along with message of environmental responsibility too, hopefully.