"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
PETER RABBIT AND HIS FRIENDS
RABBIT AND HIS FRIENDS
at Brentwood Theatre
tales from Beatrix Potter at the Brentwood Theatre; an intimate,
innocent world of talking, singing animals, where the only humans are
the grumpy McGregors, little Lucie and Miss Potter herself –
Deborah Luery this year, writing her stories at the side of the
stage, sketching her friends, "the wild ones, the tame ones",
and showing us the pictures right at the end.
tiny acting space is cleverly extended by using upper levels to
suggest the countryside; Potter's own artwork adds authenticity. The
adaptation, by Adrian Mitchell with music by Stephen McNeff, manages
to be sophisticated and charming whilst keeping some very young
children entertained. Some of the songs, in particular, were
pleasingly ambitious – I liked the Blackberries song, and Mr
McGregor's number, very well sung by Andrew Nance. Mia Keadell gives
three lovely characters, including a pipe-smoking Mrs McGregor,
Sophie Farquar plays a couple of insects and a sleek White Cat.
Jackson Pentland drags up for that "excellent clear-starcher"
Mrs Tiggywinkle, and Peter himself is played with energy and panache
by Nicholas Rutherford. I should also mention the various cuddly
puppets [Liz Southgate] who spy on the action, offer their advice,
and join in the choruses.
Rabbit is directed by Ray Howes, with Ian Southgate in charge of the
music. It is a Brentwood Theatre Production, co-produced by David Zelly and Vivid Musical Theatre.