Pros: Sound, movement and visual aesthetic seamlessly woven together to create a strong and unforgettable performance.
Cons: To nitpick, you could say the overall storyline was slightly unclear in parts.
Peut-être Theatre describes itself as a company ‘committed to communicating ideas in an interactive and accessible way through visual, physical and musical means.’ It certainly lives up to this claim in its bright and beautiful adaptation of The Tin Soldier at the Roundhouse, Camden.
Anna Bruder’s design is exceptional. The clever use of colour and the technique of outlining the various boxes and props onstage thickly in black creates a surreal and visually exciting world that engages the audience instantly – even before the performance has begun.
The show begins with a loud ‘Hup!’ from the soldiers as they make their way into the auditorium from all directions, climbing over railings and moving alongside the seats. The excitement level rises as the characters actively engage with the audience instead of simply performing to them. Numerous times throughout the show, the performers interact with the audience in different ways: characters are chased down the rows, the ballerina cries on someone’s shoulder, an audience member is invited up to kiss the dastardly Jack in the Box on the cheek… These moments delight the adults and children in the audience alike.
All four of the performers are impressively talented. Alistair Goldsmith is an adorable simpleton Tin Soldier; Maya Politaki gives a very assured performance as the ballerina; and the versatile Sam Alty and Emily Nicholl play an assortment of other fabulous characters. As well as being highly skilled dancers and actors, the cast demonstrates abilities in other areas including acrobatics, beat boxing and music.
The performers play a range of live instruments alongside the excellent soundtrack – rich, diversely different pieces of music that suit each section of the story perfectly. The Tin Soldier plays a harmonica frequently and certain musical refrains are repeated throughout, tying the story together neatly.
The Tin Soldier is surely one of the very best pieces of theatre for children – a thoughtful, powerful production that challenges and delights its young audience.
Adaptation & Direction: Daphna Attias
Design: Anna Bruder
Lighting Design: Nicola Hill
Music: Yaniv Fridel and Lemez Lovas
Associate Director: Terry O’Donovan
Box Office: 0300 6789 222
Booking Link: http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/2014/the-tin-soldier/
Booking Until: 4 January 2015