This second outing for Albee (Paul Heath), his girlfriend Andromeda (Katy Daghorn) and their pet "sound-hoover", Mustard, is a high-concept treat that slightly under-delivers on its premise, but nevertheless keeps its young audience engaged and entertained throughout. The set of shonky wooden shelves and drawers is home to numberless glass jars, each containing a different sound, from applause to a dragon’s fart. Some of each sound escapes when a jar is opened and it’s up to Albee and Mustard to refill them, with some help from the audience who obligingly baa, moo and sing lullabies to keep the shelves well-stocked.
This spirited and funny section of audience interaction over, it’s time for the story proper. Andromeda is captured by an ugly king, who promises her return only if Albee can find him “the most beautiful sound in the world”. A sea voyage ensues, replete with a Cyclops, some sirens and a motley crew of shipmates, all soundtracked by the many effects contained in those jars.
There’s a lot to like here. Heath and Daghorn have good chemistry as the spontaneous, childlike Albee and the sensible, maternal Andromeda; both are fantastic at handling the random, urgent heckles at the start of the show, treating each with the seriousness and wit it deserves. The supporting characters are more thinly sketched and played by both actors depending on the scene, making us work quite hard to stay ahead of who’s who. The Odyssey-inspired plot feels a little cobbled together at times, with enough narrative tension to keep children interested, but not quite entranced. Still, this is well-realised, self-assured family theatre that generates enough laughs, giggles, gasps and applause to keep Albee’s pantry stocked for a while to come.