The Letter J’s very own Judey Two Shoes received this glorious review in The Herald for her own interpretation of The Red Shoes, as part of Tramway’s Family Day.
The Letter J’s Jon Bishop also got a mention and will now be known as ‘the guitarist in the corner’ forever more!
Just one small step into the Tramway on Sunday, and you were greeted by giant leaps of the imagination, thought up and delivered by the kind of artists who really understand child’s play.
Upstairs, Brian Hartley was in residence, presiding over stacks of firm-but-foldable red paper, pots of paint and seemingly endless amounts of glitter. Nimble young fingers had already got to work making origami footwear as demonstrated in his Red Shoes:REDesign workshop – the results were sparkly slippers and even high-steppin’ boots of a fairy-tale fantastical allure. Eat your heart out, Mr Choo!
Downstairs, in Tramway 4, tinies were chilling out in the relaxing darkness of the Butterfly Room. Lots of squishy cushions on the floor, overhead a canopy of huge butterflies, and on-screen a succession of images ranging from whimsical animation to swirling flocks of birds in flight – all underpinned by looping, lilting music from the guitarist in the corner.
With the whole building jumping with enthusiastic weans, no wonder so many adults were keen to bring themselves (and their wee ones) into such a tranquil space.
The heart of the whole day, however, was a new theatre experience, The World of Judy Two Shoes, devised and performed by Jude Williams (of The Letter J) with input from a choice band of musicians, designers and artists.
With the usual seating banks removed, the whole of Tramway 1 was open to Williams’s richly engaging take on The Red Shoes, an installation-cum-performance that daintily side-stepped the gory morality of the Hans Christian Andersen original.
Instead, we follow in the footsteps of Judy as she merrily leaves her country cottage for the city, falls prey to the lure of sparkly red shoes that see her become a hot-to-trot dancer before, drained and exhausted, she returns to nature and is restored.
Shoes of all sorts are just one element of the cleverly detailed picturesque locations we visit with Judy.
Live music is another telling strand, with the versatile Ginger Snaps backing Williams as she sings catchy little ditties that keep us on a narrative track.
It adds up to a triumph of collaborative invention, albeit with Williams’s vision and joyous personality to the fore in this brilliantly bold approach to theatre for children. The good news is that it wasn’t just for one day, but returns for Christmas at Tramway. Take steps to see it, even if snow shoes are the order of the day.