Georgia And The Iceberg

Dorsetborn    The Arc, Winchester  Anne Waggott  26 March  2023

What an adventurous holiday of a lifetime for 12-year-old Georgia: a visit to her elder sister Helena, a scientist, who is stationed at a research base in Antarctica! However, Georgia’s relaxation is shattered when she finds that an enormous iceberg is on a collision course with a nearby penguin colony. Desperate to save them from impending danger, Georgia might just need your help…

“Dorestborn are here to discover new stories deserving of new audiences” – and what better new audiences than the very young? As an introduction to what theatre has to offer the wider community, Georgia And The Iceberg ticks every artistic box – magnificently!

Inspired by the real-life A-68 Iceberg that posed a grave risk to Antarctic penguins in 2020, this new play, written and directed by Rohan Gotobed, sets out to “explore climate change on stage in a curious and positive way”. It certainly achieves this in a non-patronising way; not only that, is uses an inclusive and interactive production to engage with its young target audience, with something for the adults to enjoy as well, in a beautifully crafted show, with an original script that incorporates threat, danger and adventure within the shared knowledge and light-hearted entertainment.

With the house lights up, projected captions and images, and interaction with the young audience members from the outset, the children were totally engaged from start to finish, answering questions and giggling in all the appropriate places, wide-eyed and open-mouthed at times, mesmerised and smiling throughout. Running at just over an hour, this is the perfect length for mainly preschool and primary school aged children, and there is something for everyone of all ages to learn and enjoy – but it wouldn’t have worked without Rohan’s first-class direction and stellar performances from Flossie Ure, Zoë May Dales and Penny Guin!

Flossie’s facial expressions, mannerisms and physicality as the idealistic, sometimes stroppy, yet always excitable younger sister, were perfect for the role, and she showed a natural aptitude for comedy with superb comic timing, as well as the vulnerable and gritty determination that makes Georgia such a dynamic and likeable character.

Zoë was the ideal counterbalance as the older level-headed sister to Georgia’s gung-ho juvenile enthusiasm, explaining how her role as a scientist is to observe rather than interfere, but she really came into her own when her puppeteering skills brought Penny Guin to life. The “WOW!” expression of the youngest child in the audience at this alone was worth her charming and creative performance, and the cute chirps and physicality made it so easy to pick up Penguinese! The relationship that built between Georgia and Penny was both touching and captivating.

A minor technical glitch in the captions was quickly rectified and the performances were played out with superb pace, timing and clarity, enhanced by excellent sound effects and visual production elements. The inclusive nature of the show ensured that the audience becomes an integral part of the production, with elements of sensory stories seamlessly included.

Georgia And The Iceberg tells a serious ecological message, connecting with the natural world in a fun yet educational way, with poignant and provocative performances, both heart-breaking and heart-warming, that could melt the coldest cynical heart. I dare you to watch this and not be moved!

Dorsetborn are taking Georgia And The Iceberg on tour around the South, with recommendations that it is most suitable for families of children aged 7+ (although I think younger children would also enjoy this production). Although the audience was very small and select in Winchester today, if you have the opportunity to see one of the remaining performances, I would highly recommend that you do so – you won’t be sorry!

Remaining performances (check with local venues for times and tickets):

Saturday 1 April – RINGWOOD, Forest Forge Theatre,

Thursday 6 April – BANBURY, The Mill,

Tuesday 11 April – PORTLAND Library

Tuesday 11 April – WEYMOUTH Library

Wednesday 12 April – WAREHAM Library

Wednesday 12 April – SWANAGE Library

Friday 14 April – WIMBORNE Library

Friday 14 April – FERNDOWN Library