What a wonderful world - Lyngo Theatre



Italy's Lyngo Theatre knows the score when it comes to producing theatre for the very young (from age two).

An audience of such tender years has no truck with fourth wall realism, or, indeed, any attempt to put space between performer and watcher. Small children are expected to enter into the play world and take a hands-on approach to props, set, even actors, who in turn should be prepared to step over supine toddlers with thumbs in their mouths.

Thus, Lyngo's third show in a trilogy of early years work - a creation story - is mostly interactive, with music, songs and judicious use of intriguing goody bags, soft pillows, mirrors and miles of hessian to roll about on.

Patrick Lynch, of CBeebies' Razzledazzle fame, and Emilia Brodie, with her violin and alto recorder, play Mr Armstrong and Necessity, Mother of Invention, respectively. Mindful of the selective attention of their infant audience, their dialogue is interspersed with jolly invitations - to chase stars, throw snowballs and pop bubble wrap. Activities are accompanied by composer Carlo Cialdo Capelli's sweet ostinato overlaid with message-affirming lyrics. Various witty asides are thrown in to keep parents and carers occupied - snatches of old hippy speak and pseudo science give a tongue in cheek impression. Startlingly out of place references to, for example, multicellular organisms make grown-ups smile as they fondly watch their infants busy placing velvet starfish on a glassy pond.

When you're only two the world - and the theatre – is wonderful enough without all the verbiage. The Stage

Life as an awfully big adventure

They grow up quickly, Lyngo Theatre's audiences. Last week at the Unicorn Egg & Spoon took a simple approach to life for 1-3s. But Wonderful World, for 2-5s, introduces the Collective Unconscious of people's dreams. And if you're old enough to notice that the Unconscious is a large pillow-case, stuffed with dreams of cotton-wool, you'll be an accompanying adult, and well aware of the importance of dreams, and the notion of a Collective Unconscious.

It's apt, therefore, that the audience's participation in Wonderful World should often be shared by young children and adults - at one point the young people blowing on the leaves their adults drop, creating a windswept autumnal fall.

The usual, embarrassing idea of "audience participation", by the way, is entirely inappropriate for this joint venture, in which adults help children develop their wonderful world, nature created and celebrated by a series of theatrical tricks (the hand-held birdsong devices an especial treat) made 'real' by interaction with young people's perceptions and experiences of the world around.

As the audience places rocks, and a dream-train of children is formed (a sleeper, naturally), their new companions waving them goodbye with handkerchiefs; as dream-fish are shared, a pond created from a mirror and surrounding rocks, the care put into the detail of this new-created world, down to an audience-created wood-fire crackle, becomes the point: treat the world well and it will treat you well.

Nature's cruelty isn't on display; there's plenty of time for that later in life. The clue to what it's all about is there for adults as Patrick Lynch looks for Copenhagen on the soft-ball globe he's about to pass round for everyone to hug (what would be sentimental in adult drama is entirely - well, natural, here). For the young people though, it's not a theme, but an experience

Phrases thrown out for adults (they feel included too) include "emotional baggage" - for the train-trip. This show provides the best form of such luggage, and the careful respect given to the young audience-members is reflected in the concentration with which they become involved in making this Wonderful World.’


What A Wonderful World. This morning we built a better world for tomorrow with #lyngotheatre at @lighthousepoole. It was one of the most beautiful and relevant pieces of children’s theatre we have been too. Utterly charming.
Thank you for one of the most amazing hours I’ve ever spent in a theatre. It’s impossible to put into words how beautiful & inspiring #whatawonderfulworld! Is. Another show this afternoon, grab a ticket if you can.

‘Just got back from seeing "What a Wonderful World" at the Egg in Bath & wanted to congratulate & thank you! It was a magical experience for both the kids & for us to watch them! My friend's daughter (3) was particularly taken with the violin playing; brilliant! A great introduction to the theatre! Keep up the good work!’

‘We have just got back from seeing your show in Bath. Thank you for a wonderful experience - your show is so creative, stimulating imagination and leaving memories to talk about for weeks afterwards. The hands on involvement, ideas and music draw the children into the show in a very special, safe and exciting way. Thank you so much - and we look forward to the next show!’


‘Hello, just wanted to quickly say how much my children ( and I ) enjoyed what a wonderful world this afternoon at the Egg. They talked none stop about it all the way home, an amazing, interactive experience which I hope they will remember for a long time. Looking forward to your next visit to the Egg. Thanks once again’

‘Dear Patrick, I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how much my 3 year old son and I enjoy your shows. We've seen a few of them, the most recent one being What A Wonderful World at the Artsdepot, we've also seen Circus Minimus (twice) and Egg and Spoon. 

Ok, let’s put the youngster aside for the moment. I'm 36 years old, but lose about 30 of those years when I come to your shows. I feel like I know how Alice In Wonderland felt when she falls down that rabbit hole. With the risk of sounding like a weirdo (I can't be the only to have said this....can I?) I confess: I come to your shows as much as for me, as I do for my child. Goodness, I feel so much lighter now.

You've got it spot on with the kids. I take my son to a lot of shows, and they don't always get it right. To get on their level without being a patronising git is something you do extremely well. Your sense of humour is appealing to both kids and adults. The way it is in Shrek or Toy Story. I do think kids shows have got to have SOME kind of appeal to adults. It's easier to share the enthusiasm about the show with the kids afterwards.

I also don't get that gritting under your teeth "I've been doing this for too long and the kids are starting to get to me" sort of vibe. (I've seen this with other performers. Us parents recognise this straight away - it's how we feel a lot of the time). Each show is as fresh as a lettuce, like you've entered this magical world for the first time.

I love that it's interactive, not only with the performers but that the parents and children can interact together as well.

Keep up the good work, no-one else is doing what you do. It's unique. I hope this is making you rich, but I suspect not, in which case please don't ever stop what you are doing, it will be a big loss for all children (big and small) everywhere. Best wishes and regards. Sharada’

‘I wanted to say a huge thank you to you for organising the ticket for us to see What a Wonderful World today. The children were totally captivated by the show - they didn't stop talking about throwing snowballs and catching stars all the way home! It is a magical show - I can't belive it is not finished yet - it was outstanding.

The staff and parents helpers all thought it was fantastic as well and they all took Lyric kids brochures. The teacher that I am working with is already talking about taking the kids to see something else!