Ian Cameron and Andy Manley in "White." (Douglas McBride)
The Catherine Wheels Theatre Company opened “White” Wednesday afternoon at the Lovelace Studio Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.
“White” is a play specifically for very young children ages 2-5. It’s a playful and visually rich story about two friends, Cotton and Wrinkle, who painstakingly take care of a grove of birdhouses.
Their main goal is to keep things “bright, ordered and white.” However, when colors begin to appear, magic takes over, and both are compelled to give in and welcome color into their lives.
Directed by Gill Robertson, “White” has won several awards, including three Edinburgh Fringe Awards, Best Production and Best Design awards at the 2011 Critics’ Awards in Scotland, and was also nominated for a New York Drama Desk Award in 2012 and an Australian Helpmann Award that same year.
Robertson is the founder and artistic director of the Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, and has directed, performed and taught throughout Scotland. Her directorial credits include “Pobby and Dingan,” “Kes,” “Caged,” “The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk,” “Kappa,” “Martha,” “Lifeboat,” “Cyrano,” “A Town Called Elsewhere,” “Hansel & Gretel,” and “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” at the Brunton Theatre.
Show creator and co-star Andy Manley has been involved with children’s theatre for over 20 years. He was a founding member of Visible Fictions from Scotland, he’s an Associate Artist of Catherine Wheels and co-creator of the highly acclaimed “Martha.” His directing credits include work for Wheels, Scottish Opera, Macrobert Arts Centre, M6 Theatre Company, Polka Theatre and Shona Reppe Puppets.
“White” was, I have to admit, surprisingly entertaining and well-staged. Its greatest appeal is the way the children in the audience responded to it. The production not only engages children, but exposes them to a very pleasant and gentle environment where they are free to interject whenever they want, comment on what they see, and express their curiosity without reprimand.
The stage, along with the actors’ costumes and audience seating, was all white. This created a very unique environment for the little ones, and made the eventual introduction of color all the more impressive.
Overall, “White” is a wonderful show to take your little ones to.
The production has traveled the world, and played in New York, Copenhagen, Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Luxembourg. This season, it has played in France, the U.K., The Netherlands, Belgium, and has now come to the U.S.
Due to the show’s global success, the first theatre-inspired mobile phone app is in the works. White: The App will be released on March 10. Free to download, the app will allow children to enter another world where they can catch and care for eggs, build them homes, and take their theatre experience home with them.
“White” will play at the Lovelace Studio Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts through March 26. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.thewallis.org.