Young People Theatre’s colourful stage show “transfixed” Toronto babies and toddlers alike
You might imagine that a show for babies would be boring for anyone else, but that idea would be based on the conventional wisdom: that shows like One Thing Leads To Another at Young People’s Theatre would be simplified or dumbed down versions of a longer narrative. The genius of One Thing Leads To Another is that it’s colourful and joyful and contains perfect baby-logic — as evidenced by the fact that an entire room of babies and toddlers were transfixed by it, to the point that some of them (like mine, ahem) had to be physically restrained from joining the fun on the stage.
This isn’t Baby Einstein and it’s not the $250 “infant learning system” your mother-in-law shows up with unannounced one day, either. It’s much more the delightful half-hour your baby spends on the kitchen floor, totally absorbed by an empty egg carton, a colander, and a spoon.
Fun things happen — like a bright yellow ball being hoisted slowly into the air on a string with an accompanying wordless song — for no reason except that it’s interesting to look at and listen to. Instead of providing a narrative to follow, this performance does the sorts of things that babies like: funny faces, interesting noises, peekaboo, items moving in patterns. They were riveted.
The performers on the day my small person and I saw it, Audrey Dwyer and Eliza-Jane Scott, introduced themselves to everyone in the small audience before the show started and clearly took care to make sure everyone felt welcomed and included — it was a low-key, baby-centered space. They sang, moved and used various noisemakers in a way that is apparently like crack for babies (my child literally sat open-mouthed and silent for ten entire minutes, which I have never seen, ever).
After the performance of One Thing Leads To Another, which lasts about 25 minutes, there’s a further half-hour of playtime during which the children get to fulfill their deep desire to get onstage and touch everything. The performers stay and roll balls back and forth and make silly faces at the small humans while they do whatever is their developmentally appropriate thing (stare at things, stick things in their mouths, put things in a bin and then dump it out again).
It was such a nice way to spend an hour with my baby — fun and lighthearted with no insipid baby talk or alarming high-pitched leader voices addressing us all as Mommy. A good time was had by all.
- One Thing Leads To Another is playing at the Studio Space at Young People’s Theatre (165 Front St E)
- Performances run from Sept 22 to Oct 8, 2016
- Showtimes are 10 am & 2:30 pm, with some Saturdays at 4pm, but dates are irregular so check the calendar.
- Tickets are $13
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 416-862-2222 or in person
Photo featuring Audry Dwyer by Avital Zemer Photgraphy