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Fall and Float review: A charming, playful, skilful show for young audiences, full of discovery, play and balloons

Dublin Theatre Festival 2023: The children at the Ark are audibly delighted and amused, gasping and giggling throughout Mónica Muñoz’s production

Fall and Float

The Ark

Contemporary dance for young children might sound like a bit of a mouthful, but Fall and Float is a charming, playful and skilful show for young audiences, full of discovery, play and balloons. The piece, created by the choreographer Mónica Muñoz with the dancers, is simple and direct. Two performers, Martijn Joling and Amy Pender, engage from a childlike perspective in a series of separate riffs on balloons, each of them like a separate session of play or imagination.

A few balloons, some wooden boxes and the two dancers are the ingredients. There are tumbles and pratfalls and flops, silliness, games, balloons disappearing and appearing, falls and floating. Inspiration comes from the noises and actions of blowing up a balloon or letting it deflate; there’s a creepy balloon-head in a hoodie, and other balloon-heads in shades doing silly dancing. Carefully choreographed and tailored to the young audience, the primary-coloured balls of air become props of infinite possibility, evoking memory and play and surprise.

Denis Clohessy’s elegant music and sound design are delicate, simple but not simplistic, and perfectly aligned with the movement and with the spirit of the pieces.

This is live performance for quite young audiences: ages seven-plus in the Ark’s programme, but Mónica Muñoz Dance indicates suitability for ages four upwards. The audience at the Ark is audibly delighted and amused by Fall and Float, with gasps and giggles and comments, and many laughs out loud, throughout the 45-minute show, as the children react to the mix of familiarity and surprise.


Presented at the Ark cultural centre for children, in Temple Bar, in partnership with Dublin Theatre Festival, the show was funded by the Arts Council, with support from Baboró and Creative Ireland. (It’s at Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, in Galway, later this month). This weekend’s shows are well booked, but a schools performance on Thursday was not full – a pity given the quality of the show. Strong children’s theatre is usually in high demand from schools; anecdotally, there may be challenges in negotiating the city on public transport with a large group of small children, and in the now prohibitive cost of coach hire; surely there must be some way to address this.

A joyous, magical and gently humorous show. (And, though we were expecting it, none of the balloons burst.)

Continues at the Ark as part of Dublin Theatre Festival until Sunday, October 15th, then runs at Nun’s Island Theatre, Galway, as part of Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, from Thursday, October 19th, to Sunday, October 22nd

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times