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Martha's Wild Goose Chase

The Polka theatre produces some excellent children's theatre and its range is admirably wide as the new season, spanning toddler to teen, clearly evinces. Young children aged between four to eight are the target audience for the current show, a delightful fable about an unlikely friendship between a reclusive old woman and a rollicking goose set on an island off the west coast of Scotland.

Martha is a cranky woman who keeps people firmly at bay, even rebuffing the friendly postman and apparently revelling in her solitude. As the play opens a flag emblazoned "Go Away" dangles from her house as the unmistakeable signs of a day's activities begin. But this is to be a distinctly different day for a passing goose decides to seek solace with Martha and though she's initially reluctant to have 'a goose in ma hoose!' his ill-health eventually softens her resolve. With a predilection for Motown music and an uncanny propensity to wreak havoc whenever possible, the goose stays but a day with Martha but brings her a new appreciation for the benefits of friendship.

Karen Tennant's compact set vividly conveys the narrow confines of Martha's pre-goose life and Rick Contie doubles as both Postie and puppeteer, making the goose an amiable character with just a touch of the infamous Emu about him! Pauline Knowles plays Martha with just the right blend of grumpiness and latent vulnerability. At fifty minutes long with no interval, it's quite long enough for such a young audience but seems to possess the right amount of comedy and pathos to enchant.

Amanda Hodges

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