Delicately poised between children’s fable and adult reverie at once, only to become another transcendent thing altogether, “Walking the Tightrope” at 24th Street Theatre delivers the evocative, cathartic goods.
In its pitch-perfect West Coast premiere, British playwright Mike Kenny’s perceptive take on the eternal cycle is as artfully simple, theatrically poetic and deeply affecting a chamber piece as any in recent memory.
Every summer’s end, since she was growing in her mum’s tummy, young Esme has visited her grandparents at the seaside. This year, however, something’s changed. The house is the same, the kitchen’s the same, the sun and the birds and the tides on the beach are the same. So, as Esme inquires of shakily taciturn Granddad Stan, where’s Nanna?
The inevitable, gradually arrived-at answer to that question is handled with taste, charm and breathtaking imagination. One of the loveliest aspects of this sui generis miniature is that it neither talks down to small viewers nor telegraphs for their elders.