Saturday, 20 February 2016

"The Tiger's Bones And Other Stories" by Ted Hughes
Lakeside Theatre

Ted Hughes was an English poet and children's writer. Critics frequently rank him as one of the best poets of his generation, and one of the twentieth century's greatest writers. He served as Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998.

New Perspectives have taken three of Hughes' stories, "The Coming Of The Kings", "Sean, The Fool, The Devil and The Cat" and "The Tiger's Bones" and put them together in a show, aimed at kids but just as enjoyable for older kids as well, like me. It's animated acting approach is great for younger kids, in the same way as the audience for the excellent "Horrible Histories" theatre tours, making the subject matter fun and exciting for them, keeping the little ones' attention for the full seventy minutes.

Four actors, Heather Dutton, Harry Egan, George Eggay and Ed Thorpe play every part in the three stories, breezing through them all and making the time fly. The stories, combined with their enthusiasm for the parts leave you hanging on to Hughes' words and the actors' actions. The chosen stories cover themes of death, spirituality and the supernatural as well as the story leading up to the birth of Christ. Pretty varied, I'm sure you'll agree for a trio of children's stories.

I've always loved the art of story-telling and these four actors are expert in bringing literal pictures to life. Directed by Jack McNamara with a sparse but then again complex set. I know this sounds like a contradiction in terms but you'd need to see it to understand what I mean. The soundtrack for the three plays is all original music, composed and designed by James Atherton. the highlight of these clever songs , for me, being "Never Forget The Cat" which has seriously dark overtones, but fits in so well with the story behind the song.

The play is for anyone over the age of seven and is on at Nottingham's Lakeside Theatre but only until Tuesday 23 February 2016, so hurry up and get those tickets for a truly magical tribute to one of Britain's finest wordsmiths.

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