There can be few venues as idyllic and non-threatening as Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden. Its freshly mowed grass runs through Ipdip’s verdant 35-minute show for babies and toddlers: a gorgeously multi-sensory, mindful performance which encourages wee ones to utilise all of their senses.
Parents and children sit on cushions in a semi-circle surrounding a patch of lawn, as audiences are introduced to Cirrus the dog puppet. His flock of sheep manage to escape from their pen (cleverly performed by using decorated balloons filled with helium, which are tethered to a tent). As you can probably guess, it’s our job to retrieve them.
Performers Sophie Rose McCabe and Euan Cuthbertson, playing both farmers and narrators, make their way around the edge of the grass, introducing kids to rattles, kazoos, puppets and towels – all sensory aids to the story’s main thread. In fact, towels are transformed into an array of farmyard animals and props, a neat puppetry trick which parents may find themselves stealing for use at home. The clouds fill up with rain (mimicked via a domestic water sprayer) and the wind blows (generated by the audience itself).
Head in the Clouds strikes a near perfect balance between storytelling and interactive elements of play for very young audiences. The script is filled with lush imagery and soft sounds while plenty of suitable toys and objects are passed around for both babies and toddlers. Afterwards, kids are allowed to stay and play with the toys, and accompanying activity programmes help to entertain any otherwise distracted young ones.