Finding Percy Erebus from Elephant Talk is presented as part of Applecart Arts’ festival Dazed New World. Elephant Talk creates children’s theatre and workshops that explore and open conversations around sensitive topics: addressing the “elephant in the room”.
This bittersweet adventure follows the journey of a child shortly after the death of her close friend, Percy. Carrying an impossibly heavy briefcase, the girl travels through a magic portal to a strange world, journeying from her bedroom to the bottom of the ocean. On her journey, she must confront dancing tricksters and outsmart rhythmic doctors, in an attempt to achieve the impossible: ‘Finding Percy Erebus’.
The production is dynamic and lively, but with a meaningful underlying message that shouldn’t be underestimated. This tale of a journey through grief carries the message that we should not only face our fears but also accept them. The beautifully interspersed moments of humour and playfulness remind us that there can be joy and hope even in the darkest of times. It’s safe to say that Finding Percy Erebus takes the audience on a somewhat unexpected journey of emotions.
Elephant Talk’s striking original score, clowning, dancing and puppetry guide the audience through this sensitive topic; the range of elements not only creates interest and variety but also demonstrates the company’s versatility. The wonderfully expressive, energetic performances from Helen Cox, Catherine Manwaring and Amelia Mehra are vivid and engaging, particularly important for grasping the attention of young viewers. What’s more, the rapid set and costume changes make for a particularly smooth-running performance.
Elephant Talk’s wonderful initiative of using theatre to approach difficult or sensitive topics with children is incredibly valuable. On the face of it though, approaching such fragile topics seems like a precarious task, and one requiring considerable care and balance; Finding Percy Erebus manages to delicately approach the topic of grief in a well balanced 30 minute theatrical production.