Vixen is the latest production from Travelling Light Theatre Company, which has been creating inspirational theatre experiences for young people in Bristol since 1984.
Written by Matt Grinter and directed by Maisie Newman, the story is performed by Alice Lamb as 11-year-old Saffi who is in search of somewhere to belong.
Saffi’s mum has left and she is finding it hard to connect with her dad. While on a walk with her dog Brutus, she discovers a vixen and her cubs in the garden of a mysterious neighbour, known as ‘Raincoat Man’.
The young girl is scratched by the fox which seems to result in her miraculously transforming into a vixen herself. She dreams of escaping with her new animal friends and finally finding that place of belonging that she has been craving for so long.
A superb 45-minute play
Alice Lamb is the only performer in this superb 45-minute show, that’s aimed at children aged seven and above.
With her on stage in the Bristol Old Vic’s Weston Studio is a simple but highly effective set by Katie Sykes. There’s a climbing frame, three coats, a microphone and a handful of other props.
The coats are used brilliantly to represent Saffi’s mum, dad, Raincoat Man and the vixen. The microphone is a lead for her dog and how Alice creates the voices of the other characters.
Atmospheric music by Alex Vann adds to the drama and there’s some clever immersive lighting by Matt Graham that creates moments such as a fire outbreak and the arrival of a fire engine.
The actress leaps up, down and under the climbing frame in a wonderfully energetic performance.
The audience of youngsters and their grown-ups were transfixed as Saffi experiences a journey of discovery that makes her realise the connections she’s looking for are much closer than she thinks.
There are many moments of humour but also more emotional parts that provide perfectly targeted thought provoking points for the young audience.
Over a slice of cake in the bar afterwards, my seven-year-old companion gave very ethusiastic positive feedback and shared his many favourite moments. If you have small people in your life, they will love it too.
Vixen is the perfect Easter holiday family treat and comes highly recommended.
Vixen is at Bristol Old Vic until 16 April. There are three performances a day at 10.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.