Stage review: An upbeat and joyful immersive trip with How to Hold the World

Juliette Rose-Innes’ How to Hold the World is wrapping up its premiere season at The Drama Factory, tomorrow, October 10, 2021. The staging of the show, dovetails with the publication of the children’s book of the same name, with illustrations by Caitlin Goodwin. The stage show stars Timothy Stadler. The protagonist yearns to travel, become a game ranger and explore the world. Plot spoiler alert: For his birthday, his mom, the pillar in his life, gives him a gift; a world/globe- something to hold onto and hug and help him reach for his dreams.

Still in the throes of the pandemic and in lockdown (albeit a more relaxed level 1), the masked audience -children and adults – was caught up in the joy of transcending the limitations of our landscape, through imagination, stories and charming props. There is a tree (looks like a baobab tree), cute penguin, crocodile (a friendly one), bird (based on an albatross) and the pièce de résistance – the cuddly world/globe.  This show is beautiful and wistful and brings together a captivating performance by Stadler who involves the audience, throughout his journey. The soundscape includes instrumental versions of Moon Dance, It is a Beautiful World and 9 to 5. The songs are mixed with birds twittering and I thought that I heard swishes of water lapping and sounds of nature.  I was humming along and smiling.

The message is that, yes, despite the challenges and having to work 9-5 to get things done, one foot in front of another; it is a beautiful world and we should stop to look at trees, birds, save penguins and engage with nature. Some people, like the protagonist’s mom, can hold up the world and do the dishes at the same time. How do we hold this beautiful world and hoist it up? Even for those who are adept at multi-tasking, accepting help from penguins and others is cool. In a time, when we cannot hug others, out of our social bubble, we can find ways of connecting. This show is huge fun with the little ones, invited afterwards, to “hug” the world. 

How to Hold the World is a delightful piece of theatre for young people (4-9) with an upbeat and positive message, quirky props, puppetry and scenography (created by Navy Rademeyer). I wanted to take the globe/ball home. I suggested that they make them and sell them at future shows. We all need holding at the moment. We need to hold each other and be held – if not physically – then emblematically – through art; theatre, music, performance. In Rona (Hindi for ‘crying; by the way), we often forget how children have been impacted by lockdown – not being able to touch and hug, outside their immediate circle. Juliette Rose-Innes has created an evocative piece of theatre – inspired by personal experience- of resisting help from others. Read the interview here:

How to Hold the World – after the show- the audience has the opportunity to “hold” the world, with performer Timothy Stadler. Pic: © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, October 9, 2020

How to Hold the World – for 4 -9 year olds and all ages

Language: English
Duration: 35 minutes
Premiere season was at the Drama Factory, Strand, October 2021

How to Hold The World-production credits, premiere season at Drama Factory, October 2021  

Performer: Timothy Stadler
Writer and director:  Juliette Rose-Innes
Artistic director: Nancy Rademeyer (scenography, set, design)
Producer: Jeff Brooker  
How to Hold The World -the book  

Pay R150 for purchase online: