Friday, December 13, 2013

Midwinter Magic... and Monsters on the move!

Moominland Midwinter is the seasonal show at the egg in Bath, though Moominland isn’t a place of sparkling lights and jollity in winter. There’s solitude and scary trolls and a fearful Grope seeking solace she will never find, there’s slippery snow and breaking ice and people who eat all your jam. There’s loneliness and anxiety and danger and even death. Hattie Naylor’s brilliant adaptation baulks at none of Tove Janssen’s Nordic existentialist melancholy, creating quirky dialogue that can range from absurdity to despair without losing the rapt attention of the watching children. Pace of dramatic storytelling ~ aided by magical lighting effects and funky music ~ never flags, despite set pieces swooping on and off stage and characters changing size as they race from close range to mid-distance. The puppets themselves, made and manipulated by  Horse+Bamboo, are magical creatures full of personality and pathos, and effortlessly became the focus of our watching and listening; Little Mi, though clearly held on to a tea-tray by a jerseyed young woman, was as much in peril in the thaw as if she were a real child skating cracking ice. 
 I loved the show, and the four children I brought all loved it too: although three are considerably younger than the recommended age of 6, they remaining engrossed and fascinated throughout ~  even dashing out of the foyer Wendy House as soon as they heard the bell ring for Act 2 ~ now that’s an impressive indicator. Congratulations to all the creative team.

As snow falls on the egg stage, my mobile is silently bringing me the news that Media Monsters is now fully cast. Marc Geoffrey our director has a Yes from a fantastic trio from last week's auditions: Vincent Enderby, Robert Myer, and Paddy Navin are joining Olivia Dennis. Rehearsals start 6th January, preview in Frome 24th & 25th and then two weeks at Alma Tavern Theatre in Bristol from 28th January... It's all fantastically exciting, not least because becoming involved in production process is the best way to learn the craft of script-writing ~ I can already see some exchanges the actor doesn't need verbalised, so my red pen will come with me to first rehearsal... can't wait.

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