Andrew MacDonald’s design for A Toby Show has been inspired by the illustration designs of children’s books. A Toby Show is an engaging children’s show, incorporating both a Cinderella and a vaudeville world which needed a design which represents the playfulness of the show, whilst being practical for the theatre space. Drawing from the pop-up element in children’s books, he designed and constructed two moveable rostra which allow for a smooth scenery change. Andrew’s design allows for black and white illustration with simple lines to allow the children’s imagination to come to life in both worlds of the play. The rostra design illustrates a cartoon-like world with its exaggerated height and perspective, in which flashes of colour are incorporated for a variety of focal points. The cartoon-like design creates a world of playfulness and imagination, which pops right out of a children’s book and into real life in A Toby Show.
Carolyn Taylor-Smith incorporates elements of the black and white theme as she brings to life the Cinderella and vaudeville worlds in her costume design. The costume designs draw on inspiration from the 1920’s especially in relation to the Cinderella world. The Cinderella world incorporates the use of drop-waist design with lush fabrics, having an earthy-shade and golden colours giving an opulent feel. The Cinderella characters, especially the Van Undersquire family, have been exaggerated through costume linking to the rostra exaggeration. The Cinderella costumes have been accentuated through the use of defined lines incorporating the black and white theme which contrasts with another colour highlighting the use of lines. This contrasts with the vaudeville world where the characters costumes are defused highlighting the difference between the two worlds in a visual representation. The vaudeville characters are all connected through the use of colour portraying a belonging to the world and the set which is an intriguing aspect of the costume design. The vaudeville characters have a timelessness about their costumes which illustrates the portrayal of all the various eras throughout time. The costumes create two separate worlds throughout the play but with the ability to combine into one through the use of colours and styles the costumes enable the world of A Toby Show to visually come alive.
Student lighting designer, Katie Hurst has focused on establishing and linking the two different worlds, the Cinderella and vaudeville worlds, in her design. By establishing the boundaries of the two worlds, she allows the audience to be transported into each world in which the characters then create and fill. Considering the set and costume design, Katie has designed the lighting so it does not detract from those elements but enhances them. The lighting also highlights the main character, Toby in a followspot as he represents the link between the two worlds. During the final act as the worlds melt into one, the lighting illustrates this by combining the elements of the different worlds into a single world full of imagination.
First time sound designer, Ashleigh Ascough has incorporated later era’s of sound in choosing her music pieces for A Toby Show. Music is featured heavily in the dance routine which is an integral part of the story and allows the era and characters to come alive. Music is also a significant part in the vaudeville routines and is often a connection from the vaudeville into the Cinderella world. A unique part of Ashleigh’s sound design is the incorporation of live sound by the vaudeville players on various instruments, providing a real experience of a vaudevillian show. The use of live sound brings all the playfulness, timeless, cartoonist and contrasting worlds together.