REVIEW: The Chronicles of Atom and Luna (Watermans Arts Centre)

The makers of The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps are back with a new and exciting family fairytale. Established to create cross-platform work primarily for family audiences, Funnelwick Limb combines live performance with family-friendly VR experiences, games, audio content and books. Their latest work, The Chronicles of Atom and Luna is currently out on an Autumn tour, accompanied by free digital content on the Funnelwick Limb website. Mummy and the munchkins were invited to watch the live show at Watermans Arts this weekend.

Written by Murray Lachlan Young, The Chronicles of Atom and Luna follows a pair of young twins, Atom (Farrell Cox) and Luna (Becca Bindang) on a magical adventure of discovery. Having been unexpectedly left home alone by their mother, the children are befriended by the mysterious and childlike Iffley Sney (Alex Scott Fairley), who saves them from starvation. But when Iffley falls ill, the twins must face their fears and journey into the forbidden forest in search of Old Mother Redbeard (Fran Burgiyne). What they discover there will change their lives forever.

Photo credit: Luke Witcomb

It feels very much like a traditional fairytale, filled with quirky characters, plucky protagonists and an overarching moral about jealousy (which is nice but is spelled out in a slightly heavy-handed manner). It’s quite an understated show, which makes effective use of poetic storytelling. Bek Palmer’s design is clever, with the simple woodland scenery opening up to create Old Mother Redbeard’s cosy home. There is also some nice use of puppetry and a splash of humour thrown in. Audience members will almost certainly find themselves singing ‘mushrooms for tea’ for days afterwards!

The live production is elevated by the digital wraparound content, which allows children to familiarise themselves with the story and further immerse themselves in Atom and Luna’s world. The augmented reality playable storybook is good fun, although it’s very short – Quaver was really getting into it and was quite disappointed that it was over so quickly. It’s very cool technology though and a great way of integrating live and digital theatre.

Overall, The Chronicles of Atom and Luna is an enjoyable new fairy story which can be experienced in a range of different ways. It’s great to see Funnelwick Limb pushing boundaries and finding innovative methods of reaching and engaging young, digitally-savvy audiences. We are excited to see what they come up with next.

The Chronicles of Atom and Luna played at Watermans Arts Centre on 6 November 2022. We received complimentary press tickets.

Age recommendation: 7+