Review: Sweet Dreams, the Audio Play

Streaming online for June – July 2021.

Mike Kenny’s 30 minute audio play follows little Ivy, whose working mum is off on a trip to outer space, leaving her to snuggle down and not worry about a thing. But beloved fluffy bunny “Bun Bun” and Ivy find themselves all alone on the moon and struggling to sleep – dreams can sometimes offer up such magical happenings of course!

Kenny’s characters carry great charm thanks to the storytelling talents of Bay Bryan (Bun Bun) and Hannah Victoria (Ivy) and I can imagine young audiences being quite taken with them. As a grown-up listener though, the best thing for me is the often gorgeous soulful/ funky/ smooth vocal accompaniment, with songs penned by Christella Litras. It’s always great to hear some variety of musical styles in a production aimed at children and it’s impossible not to bop along at times with this. I’m imagining that the research used to inform this piece must have recommended a bit of a boogie as a good way to release the last few drops of energy from little ones before reverting to a gentler, sleepier ending!

There are, of course, some sweet pockets of educational messaging – in this case, about the magical powers of sleep and dreaming for little minds. Questions are posed and answered, friendship strengthened and a little girl’s worries eased. For me, this is a “Velveteen Rabbit” for modern audiences – or even Agnes’ “George”. Younger audiences might trace echoes of “Toy Story” or similar my-favourite-toy-has-come-to-life stories. It’s a framework with timeless appeal and it’s captured beautifully here as Bun Bun offers a reassuring set of bunny ears to listen and bunny advice to listen to. Ivy is certainly lucky to have such a wise pal, even if his voice will last only for as long as the dream does…

Aside from the audio play, tutti frutti have also created a series of podcasts based on it (presented by Zoe Salmon) for families, educators and children – oh, and there are transcripts available along with a 3D “Sleep Time Karting Game”, informed by research and created by Arman Ataman. This really is a treasure trove of accessible free content, and what’s not to love about that?

Produced by tutti frutti productions in association with Naked Productions Limited and The Sleep Charity. Available free of charge via online streaming here until July 31st 2021.

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