This taster session ran in the Old Music Hall, which is a new venue for our family. It took us a while to work out how to get inside, but once in we were greeted by Amantha and welcomed upstairs with tea and snacks.
The room was set out with a couple of rows of chairs and plenty of beach mats for the children to sit on – giving a suggestion of sandy shores. The youngest members of the audience had a good go at flapping these mats, but Amantha took this in her stride. In fact she was so engaging throughout the session that even the most distractable of children were entranced by her performance.
The 45 minute session was a mixture of story telling, interactive performance, song and music. Amantha began the stories through song, and her beautiful and powerful voice captivated the children and adults alike. She invited us to get involved by calling out repeating phrases and then asked us to join in the actions needed for the story to come, with jumping and stamping. This proved a big hit with my two children, who warmed up instantly.
The actual story was a fable of a tortoise who wanted to fly. Amantha asked the children to contribute to the story (“and which bird do you think flew down next?”) and she incorporated their suggestions seamlessly, giving us the impression that they too, were creating the story. She threw herself into the performance, crying so loudly at one point that my three year old resorted to covering his ears with his hands. She varied the format by handing out traditional musical instruments, which the children used to create the sounds of animals on the island.
A powerful and captivating experience which demanded the attention of both adults and children in the audience. (No room here for a quick natter or a surreptitious check of your facebook status at the back). It seemed to capture the essence of the Caribbean. A treat for the senses.