kids review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Published 07 Aug 2016

Forget Brexit or the housing crisis. If you want to see the stark generational divide between young and old, go see Puzzle, a show in which three contemporary dancers tumble across the stage wearing primary-coloured marshmallow shapes, like a chaotic ballet of embryonic Muppets.

You see, kids ‘get’ the abstract more than adults. Put a child in front of a Kandinsky, Miro or Pollock canvas or read them an absurdist rhyme by Dr Seuss or Edward Lear and it will make perfect, delightful sense to them. For adults, however, a schooling in geometrical, imperial realism means the abstract is often greeted with a befuddled, condescending shrug. And so it follows that during Puzzle’s 45-minute running time, as the Lithuanian dance troupe spin and leap with perma-fixed grins, the children sit like amazed statues while mums and dads look amused but a wee bit lost.

To be fair to the grown-ups, it is rather simplistic. An extended sequence with cushions, for example, while it will encourage toddlers to clean the floor, overstays its welcome. Beyond the visual fizz on offer, there isn’t much to engage the older crowd. But, as the toddlers will tell you, Puzzle's simplicity is its point. The enthusiastic movement, the day-glo colours, the dance-along sections are all tuned to young 'uns particular dribble-tastic frequency.

And when the show ends, the kids are invited on stage to play with the over-sized shapes. It’s a lovely touch. The children dive in. This is their world. Meanwhile the adults remain on the fringes, looking in.