"The Boy Who Fell Into A Book"
Nottingham Arts Theatre.
Nottingham Arts Theatre.
The first production in the People's Theatre Company and Arts Theatre Autumn/Winter season is a bid success.
Written by Alan Ayckbourn, it's the story of Kevin who loves his books and reads them, and especially his favourite book featuring ace detective, Rockfist Slim and his battle against the Green Shark Gang.
Kevin falls to sleep thinking of where he had got up to in the book and suddenly finds himself within the pages of his latest partly read tome, and teaming up with Rockfist himself. To get out of the situation Kevin and Rockfist have to work their way through the rest of the books on Kevin's shelf.
They meet many interesting characters on their way, but can they escape the clutches of the evil Monique and the Green Shark Gang as they are pursued through the various books.
Kevin is played by Sophie Owen, an actor I've seen several times just around the corner at The Lace Market Theatre. This is her debut for the People's Theatre Company and what a way to make a debut.
Rockfist is played by Rob Suttle, and while the accent isn't typical Bronx, that doesn't matter because in your imagination, he is numero uno from wherever he wants to hail from. A typical 1940's film noir character who was great fun to watch.
Kayleigh Lupton was Monique, and what an evil laugh, worthy of panto baddie. Not sure which accent Monique was supposed to have but as I said before, the wonderful thing about this being a kids based book and play, is that you can use your imagination, so it didn't matter that much.
I loved the "Woobly" family, they made me smile more than any other character, and I smiled a lot at this play, Christine Boothe, Roy Smith and Paul Duffy played Mummy, Daddy and baby Woobly, complete with their own language.Adam Chapman played the narrator for the Wooblys, just in case you couldn't understand Woobly language.
Glenn Murphy lost his head as the monk and also played Gareth, The Red Knight.
Richard Fife exercised his manicness as Rumpelstiltskin as well as Ebeneezer. I loved the Scots accent.
Christine Boothe also doubled up as a wolf/Grandma with poetic, but deadly intentions with the equally poetic but kindly intention-ed Red Riding Hood, played by Charlie Evans.
Although Leilani Papworth was only in the play for a short while, her White Queen was memorable with some of the best make up and costume in the story, courtesy of Blind Eye Productions.
The White pawns were played by Charlie Evans, Molly Fitches and Barbara Benner (who also played Jennet).
Mike Pearson was the voice of Kevin's dad as well as part of The Green Shark Gang, along with Paul Duffy and Molly Fitches.
Paul also played the Red Bishop as his third role in this play. I had to look twice as Paul looks just a bit different to how I last saw him!
Although the set was not one of those busy sets, it worked really well an d was well designed by the Director, Chris Mercer, who also designed the very effective lighting. A labour of love for Chris, and I for one love the labour he and the cast have put in to this production.
The story is well written, as you'd expect from Mr Ayckbourn and, although the story is aimed at children, it doesn't patronise them. Even though the story is for a younger audience, this is an enjoyable fantasy jaunt for all ages. Think panto crossed with Harry Potter and it's that kind of feel.
A magical start to the season, for which you can book your tickets for up until Saturday 30 September 2017.