We went to the theatre this evening. It’s a small theatre, recently built by Red Rose Chain with a lottery grant I believe. We’ve seen them before, at theatre in the forest, which is usually a fairly dramatic production – we’ve seen a variety of different Shakespeare plays.
This was very different. An adaptation of the Tale of Mr Tod, featuring Beatrix Potter. There were only three actors, who between them played 9 roles I think (I may have to count that again). The stage area is small, with seating around three sides, and if you’re on the front row, as we were, you are very much part of the action. For all it’s a children’s book, the play is not aimed at children particularly, although they enjoyed a lot of it, equally a lot of it sailed over their heads.
Frantic, frenetic, energetic, adventurous – every bit of the stage is in use, props like actors used and reused in the most unusual ways. I wish I had felt able to take a picture of the wonderful shadow puppets that feature all too briefly (you may be able to spot the required props above).
Edited – the lovely folk at Red Rose Chain sent me a picture of the shadow puppets!
I also enjoyed many of the characterisations. Mr Tod, who feels soft furnishings are his raison d’etre, “at this time I always think a nice crochet snowflake goes a long way”. And Beatrix Potter was marvellously unexpected, as I suppose she must have been really.
An evening show was a bit late for Tigerboy – he lost interest part way through the second half and went exploring the seating tiers, which wasn’t ideal. But Smallest as 6 was utterly enraptured by the whole thing, and Small seemed to very much enjoy himself too.
I always know we are in for a treat when Red Rose Chain are involved, and I can honestly and heartily recommend this. A wonderful seasonal treat, I only wish that Big and Tim could have come too.