There’s as much for the parents as for the babies in MamaBabaMe. This beautiful show by Scottish dance companies Starcatchers and Curious Seed presents everyday moments in the lives of mothers and babies, Nerea Gurrutxaga and Hayley Earlam rolling, toddling, gurgling and cuddling to an atmospheric live sound track performed by cellist Robin Mason.
The set, by visual artist Yvonne Buskie, is immediately calming—an important quality for a show aimed at the under-threes and performed smack in the middle of both morning and afternoon naptimes—its colours, textures and shapes easy on the eye and pleasing to the touch.
Christine Devaney’s choreography evokes the mother-child relationship with real heart yet never falls into sentimentality. Gurrutxaga and Earlam portray both mother and baby, switching back and forth again and again in a way that suggests theories of child development that describe how babies ultimately come to mentally separate from their mothers and develop their own sense of self – or perhaps I’m reading too much into it.
Interaction with the babies in the audience is limited, which is a shame, because the little there is—including the balloon free-for-all at the end—goes down a storm. Each time the dancers reach out to us over the low cloud-like barrier that delineates their playing space, it feels like we’re being invited in to play, rather than just witness this jewel of a performance from the outside. It’s a feeling that bears repeating.