How to Catch a Star review: Visually stunning with a twinkling score

If you have had enough of the flashing lights of the panto, this is the show for you


The Ark, Dublin
This visually stunning stage adaptation of Oliver Jeffers's picturebook How to Catch a Star is a tonic after the chaos of the pantomime. Under the direction of Marc MacLochlainn, Branar Téatar do Pháistí eschew the easy option of reproducing the short text and embrace wordless storytelling instead, setting the inspiring, imaginative story against a magical twinkling score from Colm Mac Con Iomaire.

Our hero is Boy, a large-headed, stick-limbed boy with a wondrous capacity for adventure. One night Boy wishes on a star for a star of his very own, and the play charts his attempts to catch one.  Encounters with a seagull, adventures on the is all part of his quest for friendship.

Boy is brought to life by Suse Reibish’s exquisite puppetry, which Grace Kiely and Neasa Ní Chuanaigh animate with graceful gestures of their own. Visible throughout the performance, they create an extra layer of theatricality that older children will love unpacking.

Maeve Clancy's set and Ciaran Kelly's concentrated lighting, meanwhile, contribute to a rarefied aesthetic that younger children may struggle to focus on for 45 minutes. However, older kids with an appreciation for  beauty (and their grown-up plus-ones) will easily get lost in it. If you have had enough of the flashing lights, popcorn and pandemonium of the panto, this is the show for you. Sara Keating


Runs until December 30th