Bits & Box seems to have all the trappings of a great children’s show, starting with a refreshingly simple premise – two grown men play make-believe with a cardboard box. Ironically, there’s no pretense, no suspension of disbelief – what you see onstage is what you get, and the result is genuinely joyful.
What sets the play apart is the honest approach to its subject matter. Amidst an assortment of playful sketches emerges the story of a young man approaching an important milestone in his life, one that threatens to permanently alter his relationship with his best friend.
From pirate battles to Blue Peter impersonations, Joshua Mathieson and Ray Hunwicks charmingly combine humor and pathos, choosing not to shy away from flights of whimsy or complex themes – though at times, these themes may prove challenging for younger viewers.
In fact, the play is so resolutely honest, it almost sabotages itself – Mathieson’s convincing portrayal of a young man on the precipice of a life-changing event leaves his audience on a cliff-hanger and the play without a fully-satisfying ending. Nevertheless, the 50 minute romp through the imagination is a delight for kids young and old.