Press ESC or click the X to close this window

Glisten (Susan Elkin reviews)


Venue: Half Moon Theatre. 43 White Horse Road, Greater, London E1 0ND

Credits: Co-produced by Daniel Naddafy and Half Moon Presents. For 0 – 18 months.


3 stars

Glisten. Photo: Stephen Beany

This show is effectively a 20 minute, solo,  sensory dance performance for babies and as such it works very well. Alessio Bagiardi, a charismatic mover, is beneath a tent frame which has some unobtrusive items taped to its bars. During the course of the show he finds lights, a big rustly foam rug, coloured cellophane, rainbow-bright chiffon scarves and creates a landscape with them on the floor. Gentle music plays throughout and provides an aural structure for Bagiaridi’s quasi-balletic body work. It’s also soothingly reassuring for very young ears.

The audience – and their grown ups –  are seated on cushions and chairs round the edge. The response is fascinating. There are chatty wrigglers, excited commenters, one who’s a bit edgy and thinks about crying and one – perhaps a year old – who sits perfectly still, transfixed and mesmerised following every movement with his eyes. It’s rare to see such focus in the theatre even amongst adults. When it was time for the interactive play session at the end, that same child crawled purposefully to Bagiardi’s feet and allowed himself to be lifted high into the foil tendrils overhead – a jolly good game. How lovely, too, to see a baby only a few weeks old lying alert on a little mattress at the end, concentratedly watching the lights and colours, arms and legs thrusting enthusiastically.

Of course I’ve seen theatre for under-twos before but it’s been a while and I’m struck afresh that “imaginative” and “simple” are not contradictions. This very pleasing miniature show does both and engages its target audience with exquisite skill and warmth.


First published by Sardines:

Author information
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
More posts by Susan Elkin