Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
On Sunday afternoon (5 November 2017) me and my five year old daughter visited The Lowry Theatre in Salford to watch Dream Factory performed by the House of Stray Cats theatre company. This show was in The Lowry’s smallest theatre, The Aldridge Studio.
The performance told the story of Sophie, a young girl who couldn’t get to sleep as she had lost her dream. Sophie was visited by three workers from the Dream Factory who took her back with them to the factory to try and find her dream.
The cast was made up of three performers, Katriona Brown, Maia Kirkman-Richards and Nicole Black who played the Dream Factory workers whilst all the other characters, including Sophie, were puppets. The puppets were beautiful particularly the sparkly fishes. During the performance the puppeteers interacted with the audience, really drawing them into and including them in the performance. My daughter especially loved it when they brought the puppets into the audience.
The set appeared very simple but as the story was told it was moved around and added to in such a way that it helped bring the story to life. Added to that there was such beautiful music and lighting to capture and enhance the performance. My daughter was on the edge of her seat throughout the performance and was gripping onto my arm at one particularly tense point.
The show information on The Lowry website suggested this performance was suitable for children aged 4-9 and I would completely agree. At 5 my daughter could follow most of the story, asking what was happening only a couple of times and at only an hour long it wasn’t too long to lose her attention.
After the performance the puppeteers brought some of the puppets back out for the audience to meet up close and ask questions about. They even allowed some of the older children to have a go operating one of the puppets. I thought this was a really lovely thing to do and although she was quite shy my daughter thought it was wonderful to see them properly.
This was a charming play that really captured my daughter’s imagination. I will be keeping a lookout for any further shows by the House of Stray Cats.
House of Stray Cats at currently touring with Dream Factory, for more information and tour dates visit www.houseofstraycats.com.
For other shows at The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000