How far would you go to get one more glimpse of your lost love? Kepler, the hero of the Unicorn’s short but beautifully sweet puppet show, goes to the end of the universe.
Mark Arends’s play never condescends its audience (for ages 8 +) and, just to warn you, there are some very sad moments. ‘She’s dead!’ one of the school children whispered, shocked, when I saw it, and yes, she was.
It’s not an entirely sad story though, and while death is a focus, the play also looks upliftingly at one man’s devotion and how his love endures.
As a scientist, Kepler knows that, because of the distance, when you look into space through a telescope you’re theoretically looking at it in the past. He therefore decides to build a space rocket and fly as far away as possible so he can look back on earth and relive the last moments of his love, who has been killed in a circus accident.
On stage, four cameras film different scenes, which are projected onto a big screen at the back of the theatre. The screen shows the full story, but by having the cameras below you can see the inner workings of the puppetry – designed by Matthew Robins, whose mix of shadow puppets and film succeeds with mesmerising effect.
The puppets themselves are simple but they have real character, helped in no small way by the four-strong team of talented puppeteers. They switch silently between cameras, changing scenes in front of the audience with incredible grace.
The show is played to a live score, written and performed on stage by Arends, which sends shivers down the spine. Amazingly, you witness all the nuts and bolts of ‘Something Very Far Away’ and still remain enchanted by the show itself.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell