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Rosie Goodwin
Family Arts Correspondent
5:10 PM 6th October 2019

Scarborough’s Getting Slimy At The SJT

Slug (Lucy Bairstow) and Caterpillar (Finlay McGuigan). Photo by Jerome Whittingham
Slug (Lucy Bairstow) and Caterpillar (Finlay McGuigan). Photo by Jerome Whittingham
In yet another exciting twist on traditional drama, next week the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough will be hosting SLIME. I think it’s safe to say that it will undoubtedly appeal to its pre-school target audience.

In a fully immersive and accessible experience, the SJT’s bar lounge will be transformed into a slimy undergrowth, as the loveable characters, Slug (Lucy Bairstow) and Caterpillar (Finlay McGuigan), decide a course of action.

Brought to Scarborough by the Herd Theatre, with playful storytelling at its heart, SLIME explores a simple scenario, when two hungry (though rather large) minibeasts decide they both want the very last leaf in the garden – a leaf that is just out of reach. Will they work together or will their differences prove too much for them?

With truly age-appropriate content and themes, the story promises a great deal for its young audience, including challenging their perceptions of the slimy slug (and those of their adult parents). We grow up accepting a range of judgements about slugs, these lowly creatures to crawl the earth - the primary enemies of gardeners the country over; the pests that leave their trails and eat our plants.

SLIME’s writer Sam Caseley sees things a little differently, though: “I think slugs are amazing and their slime is like no other material on earth, but they get such a bad rep. So we’ve made a show that confronts this prejudice, and in doing so explores how we judge others before we know them. And you get to invade the stage and play with slime at the end!”

For those who may be apprehensive about taking their under 6s on a trip to the theatre, it is clear that there is genuinely nothing to fear, with all performances designed to be relaxed, the perfect introduction to drama for young children.

Described by director Ruby Thompson as a “unique theatrical experience for the very young”, it’s fully expected that children will be “as loud as they want – giggle, dance, wriggle and talk.”

Aimed firmly at those aged 2 and over, there is British Sign Language integrated throughout, only 12 words in the script and, of course, a whole heap of slime. Performances last 45 minutes, but children are invited to squish, squelch and play for a further 15 minutes at the end.

The Herd Theatre is an affiliate company of Hull Truck Theatre and Hull Libraries’ Associate Theatre Company.

SLIME has been developed for children aged 2 to 5. Tickets are £5, including refreshments. To book, please call the box office on 01723 370541 or visit the website: www.sjt.uk.com

Performances are on Tuesday 15 October at 1.30pm and Wednesday 16 October at 10.30 am and 1.30 pm.