Sitting in the darkness of the studios at Bristol Old Vic, my little boy clutching my hand, an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement abounded. Whatever we expected to see while we waited in the brief moments before The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean began was about to be far surpassed.
The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean tells the story of an old and dusty scrapbook, unopened since its creation many years ago until one day it is discovered and examined by ‘Scrapologist’ Dr Patricia Baker.
Along with loose items discovered with the scrapbook, page by page, item by item, the mysterious scrapbook crafts the story of Mr Artemis J Mood and the love of his life, Josephine Bean.
Making up the mystery of the scrapbook are clues which Dr Baker painstakingly pieces together in her laboratory. There are smells of pipe smoke, lavender and coconut, for example, a grain of sand, tasted by Dr Baker who declares it to be ‘Scottish’, a beard hair, train ticket for one and a plethora of sea weed to throw into the mix.
The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean is the creation of Shona Reppe, who stars as Dr Baker, herself. She is gloriously expressive and despite being the sole performer of the show, albeit with some clever sounds and projected images to accompany her performance, she kept us enthralled from start to finish.
While this show is aimed at ages 7+, my 4 year-old enjoyed it. We have a memory scrapbook at home so he understood the concept of Dr Baker’s ‘scrapology’ and the show successfully held his attention throughout. The show lasted under an hour which was a perfect length for the kids in the audience.
The kernal of the story of The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean is wonderful and never before have I come across a story quite like it.
This uniquity, along with the magnificent delivery of Shona Reppe and the input of the crew at Bristol Old Vic, help make The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean a triumph.
Disclosure: While Bristol Old Vic gifted me tickets to see The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean, as always my opinions are my own and I absolutely loved this performance.
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