Shh! We Have A Plan

 Production Photo: Cahoots NI

To re-watch Cahoots NI's Shh! We Have A Plan is to reunite not just with an old friend, but with an old family member – an enchanting rediscovery of the peerless warmth and boundless energy in Paul Bosco McEneaney's adaptation of Chris Haughton's children's book, which has enraptured the young and old not only in Northern Ireland but around the world.

The freshness of the storytelling and fresh-faced enthusiasm of nearly-silent principals Claire Cogan, Hugh W. Brown and Philippa O'Hara remains undimmed – it pretty much is as I first saw it in my original review for The Big List in December 2017, with perhaps my appreciation for the magic, the message and Philippa O'Hara's performance enhanced. O'Hara, especially, continues to evolve as a performer of astonishing grace and subtlety in this compelling journey of capture, a battle of one man and two women vs. (puppeteered) nature where the triumph is in understanding above all else. Where the slightest deviation from a rigidly planned end goal, an emerging conscience, may initially encourage dissent but will eventually be embraced and respected. It's like a wondrous window into open-mindedness from a house of order and routine – an inspiring tale of growth and learning, with the ever-rhythmic, ever-funky and irresistibly catchy motif of Garth McConaghie to accompany it.

Simon Fallaha

Shh! We Have A Plan runs upstairs at Belfast's MAC Theatre until Sunday August 18. For more information, click here.