I was lucky enough to see this sold out show at the Galway International Arts Festival in July this year (2017). Fans of Jeffer’s children’s books will enjoy the fidelity not only to the original illustrations but also to the spirit of his work. This is a gentle, detailed and captivating show that avoids being sentimental. There are laugh out loud moments as well as the visual magic that Branar is well known for.
The show is rhythmically perfect
The story is simple, a lonely boy dreams of becoming friends with a star and he sets out to catch it. The adventure involves dangerous seagulls, intrepid worms and a perfect climbing tree. It is a sweet study of childhood isolation, imagination and invention.
Every moment is stunningly crafted
Marc Mac Lochlainn’s superb direction keeps the narrative moving but leaves plenty of room for reflection, breath and thought. The show is rhythmically perfect: there are no lulls. The puppetry by Neasa Ní Chuanaigh and Grace Kiely is seamless: the boy puppet is expressive and versatile and they have a lovely rapport with the audience. The attention to detail is remarkable: a falling leaf sticks on the boy’s head and the wrapping of the chilly star in a woolly scarf is a marvel. Every moment is stunningly crafted from a collaborative process that is clearly full of care and delicacy.
Maeve Clancy’s set design is one of the stars of the show: she has created a exquisite miniature world that is somehow leaves plenty of space for the imagination. The colours, shapes and objects are so pleasing. Like previous Branar shows I’m sure that ‘How to Catch a Star’ will be loved by many children the world over in the years to come. Even my cynical six year old son declared that he cried with joy at the end.