Over at the Traverse this week, meanwhile, the much-admired Catherine Wheels company – one of Scotland's top theatre groups for children – are continuing their current tour of Pobby and Dingan, a new stage version by Rob Evans of the award-winning children's story by Australian-based writer Ben Rice. Set in the remote outback mining town of Lightning Ridge, this 80-minute show tells the story of young Ashmol Williamson, his sister Kellyanne, and her two imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingan, who go missing one day, causing Kellyanne to take to her bed with what seems like a broken heart.
Pobby and Dingan is a strange story, which resolutely refuses to follow a classic sentimental pattern. Ashmol's quest is successful, yet he loses his prize; everyone in town behaves as if Pobby and Dingan are real, yet only a few believe in the right kind of way. Yet what emerges from Gill Robertson's beautiful production – which marshals music (by David Paul Jones), puppetry, and all the visual resources of theatre, to evoke the physical and social landscape of Lightning Ridge, and to tell this complex story, with a cast of just four – is a really moving meditation on the power of imagination to conjure what is not conventionally real, and to recreate what has gone.
There's some fine acting here, from Scott Turnbull, Ashley Smith, Damien Warren-Smith and Ros Sydney. If the show's concerns are perhaps a shade too deep for younger children, it's a richly fulfilling experience for everyone over seven or eight, and for adult audiences, too.