Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: I Theatre's The Rainbow Fish

I had forgotten how magical a Black Light Theatre is until we caught I Theatre's The Rainbow Fish over this long weekend. I brought my niece and my 2 nephews along to watch the play too (yes, I was feeling brave that afternoon!) and when the play started, my niece went "wow"!

And wow it was. :) For those who are unaware of what black light theatre is, it is where the stage is augmented to be totally "blacked out" (hence a black "box" theatre) and the actors wear black costumes which allow them to blend in with the background. With special UV light and paint, the props and the "characters" would be the ones that stand out against, thus creating black light illusion. (Note: because of the light needed for the photography, the actors are visible here. In the actual production, the actors are barely visible)

:: The story
This story written by Marcus Pfister must be one of the most widely used stories in teaching children the importance of humility and sharing. But more than that, the story also emphasizes how every individual is unique in its own way. 

The story starts with a shoal of fish ending up in Seawedy Deep and for many (especially Little Blue), one of their greatest wish is to be able to see the infamous Rainbow Fish, known for her beautiful and unique scales.

Initially dazzled by Rainbow Fish's beauty, Small Blue and Tiny Stripes (who reminded me of Dory in Finding Nemo with its bubbly personality) "hero-worshipped" Rainbow Fish and did not realise how proud and rude she truly was. As the story progresses, they were disappointed and upset to learn that the proud beauty is not what she seems on the outside, while Rainbow Fish learns what humility and friendship is about. 

The friends also learnt about teamwork when they had to work together in battling a Hammerhead shark (which parents will be relieved to know to know that it was actually more of a comic relief ~ not frightening for the younger kids). 

:: What we like it
Aesthetically, it was a visual treat. There is nothing like the effects of a Black Light theatre and how it made everything "pop up", swim and float. And kudos to the prop designers as the props were really lifelike too ~ the "brain" coral etc were really beautifully painted.

The kid asked me what my favorite part of the story was and visually, it was when the Octopus appeared. The set up of the scene was really impressive: it was simple yet grand. Simple because it was just the Octopus that took the centrestage but grand because of its sheer size. The Octopus (who is almost somewhat like an oracle) was wise (true to its nature!) and hit "home" with its points about sharing when Rainbow Fish ("sharing is stupid") sought out its counsel.

:: Precious lessons
For me, the story about Rainbow Fish is not just about sharing. The sharing was a gesture that she thought of; almost like an "aftermath" and as peace offering. Instead, it is about how vain and rude Rainbow Fish was, and how she prides herself to be better than others and looked down at the other fish. It was because of that mentality that she is "precious and unique" that slowly, she lost her friends as they began to realise that outer beauty is not everything. For Rainbow Fish, she learnt the importance humility and friendship.

Morals aside, the play also introduces adjectives to the children - "unique" and "malevolent" and shared interesting facts e.g. crabs eat starfish. (While I am at it, here's some fun facts about Starfish. Their arms are called rays and they have the ability to regenerate the rays!)

:: Extra extras!
The activity booklet is beautifully printed showcasing the silver scales on Rainbow fish on the cover! Additionally, there are activities in the booklet by Little Day Out which extends the children's learning. If I can make one suggestion, that would be for I Theatre to have a fun facts page for the older children too! :)

Now, if you are a paraphernalia person, you will be pleased to know that My Imagination Kingdom has a booth selling the Rainbow Fish series of books (many in hardbacks which I personally love for the younger kids as they are more lasting). Additionally, there's also a booth selling Rainbow Fish tee-shirt (exclusively for this play ~ you won't be able to get it anywhere else!) for only $10 (kids size). A CD cum tote (partially made with denim) set is also going only for $15! That's really good value! (Note: please bring CASH!)

Having caught the play 5 years ago and again, 5 years later, I have to say that the play did not disappoint but entertained well. I was worried that the play would be more suitable for the preschoolers but was really happy to find out that the my troop which ranges from Primary 1 - 3 enjoyed it too.

A really meaningful and entertaining production, here's some information about the show time. You can purchase the tickets here.

10:00 am
10:30 am
2:30 pm
Show 1

Show 2
Show 3

Show 4
Show 5

Show 6


Show 7
Show 8

Show 9
Show 10
Show 11

Show 12
Show 13

Show 14
Show 15

Show 16


Show 17
Show 18
Show 19

Show 20
Show 21

Show 22
Show 23

Show 24
Show 25

Show 26


Show 27
Show 28

Show 29
Show 30

Shows in RED are For School groups only.

Disclaimer: We were invited to watch the play by I Theatre so that we can give our opinions about it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.

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