Thursday, December 15, 2011


The Brentwood Theatre

The unexpected opening a performer becomes Beatrix Potter before our eyes helps the rapt young audience [from Willowbrook School when I popped in] understand the magic of live theatre: magic that will let Jemima fly, Nutkin punt across to Owl Island, and Tom Kitten climb up the chimney.

Adrian Mitchell's delightful adaptation, with a lovely traditional score by Stephen McNeff, makes an accessible alternative to brasher, noisier seasonal shows. Ray Howes' lively production maximises the stage area, with a batterie de cuisine above the entrance, and woodland around the action. The costumes [Joy Dunn] are beautifully realised, with masks allowing full facial expression. Old Brown was especially impressive.

The energetic young cast struck up an immediate rapport with the audience; Katie-Elizabeth Allgood's Potter not merely a narrator, but a creator of jam roly-poly and a host of animal characters: Hannah Douglas's naive Jemima, Tim Gutteridge's seductive Foxy Gentleman, Stephen Gunshon's Squirrel, and Nick Pack's nimble Jeremy Fisher [choreography by Sarah O'Sullivan].

So much to enjoy in these four tales the wooden ducks, the chicken perched atop the summerhouse, the riddles, the animal puppets and the real dog. And not forgetting the charming songs [MD Ian Southgate] Who Likes the Rain, I Had a Cat, In Autumn Time

production photo by Carmel Jane Photography

No comments:

Post a Comment