by Kirsty A. Watters
My first impressions of “If I were a mouse I would hide in your hood” were confusing, as for the first ten minutes of the production, performed in Eastwood Park Theatre, there was no mention of neither mouse nor hood.
We were, however, introduced to Rudy, a simple man, going about his daily routine. The portrayal of Rudy, by a man who looked to be in his late thirties, early forties was innocent, almost child like and very likable. That combined with the soft lighting of the performance space and the enchanting background music left the room full of around thirty nursery children (who were some what rowdy on arrival) spellbound and attentive, which I would view as an achievement within itself.
Later on in Rudy’s day, he is paid a visit from one of is neighbors, who wishes to invite Rudy to a party he is hosting. It is at this point we learn that Rudy is cripplingly shy. He hides until his neighbor has left, leaving the invitation behind. With that out of the way, Rudy retires to bed. Then at last the mouse appears. You could almost feel the excitement in the theatre rise up and the children surrounding me began to stir. The mouse its self was only a cleverly constructed puppet, made out of wire and cloth. But the excitement stirred within the children, and admittedly me, was from the intriguing way the mouse was moved across the stage by the man behind the screen.
Morning comes and Rudy rises from his bed to meet his new house guest. What follows is a series of amusing chase scenes where Rudy peruses the mouse that seems determined to mess up Rudy’s home and indeed his day. By this point the nursery kids were ecstatic and the small staging area began to resemble a pantomime with children shouting out “He’s over there!” and I’m pretty sure I heard one little boy yell, “He’s behind you!” This was somewhat over staged but amusing nonetheless.
Somehow, by the end of the day Mouse and Rudy have managed to form a beautiful friendship and we watch in joy as they bake a cake together. Afterward, Rudy once again retires to his bed, although this time with a huge smile on his face. Morning comes and Rudy is woken by a sharp knock at the door. It’s his neighbor again, wondering if he was coming to the party or not. With some new found confidence Rudy opens the door and informs the neighbor that he will be coming, as long as he can bring a friend. Cue the heartwarming smiles and “Aww” ‘s from the audience. Rudy excitedly looks for Mouse, but he is nowhere to be found. After another frantic search Rudy spots the invitation lying on the table. He picks it up and reads aloud “You are invited to a party, please bring a cake” He smiles and utters his final heartwarming words: “Thanks Mouse”. Rudy then picks up his jacket (finally the hood bit makes sense) and walks out of the door towards the party.
If I could describe, “If I were a mouse I would hide in your hood” in one word it would be adorable. From it’s colourful and quirky set, to its wonderfully likable actors, and of course puppet, the simple story of a lonely man befriending a mouse becomes a beautiful, enchanting piece of theatre. It left everyone in the room, whether a nursery student, a teacher, the theatre staff or even a work experience placement like me, with a huge uncontrollable smile on their face.