Pros: Live music and good use of light and sounds make it a visually appealing and atmospheric performance.
Cons: Actors playing as children do not bring out the real essence of childhood, making the play lose out on some of the intended emotional impact.
This was the world and I was King is a story about a family during war time, broken up due to the absence of the father fighting on the western front. Three children turn to their imaginations and childhood stories to escape their sad reality, with injured lions and even a bear called Thomas. It reminisces on the memory of childhood and reflects on the effects of war on families. Inspired by the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson and the story of the Cottingley fairies, it provides an interesting mix of story telling, puppetry and music.
The children themselves are Lily (played by Laura Hannawin), Eveline (Laura Trundle) and Alexander (Lewis Clarke). All played their roles wonderfully, actively bringing the stories to life and making audience smile and laugh at some of the charming scenes they had together. Some laughs were definitely heard during Alexander’s one liners and a few other parts of the play. However, the story could have been more impactful if the actors were actual children. It is hard to capture the real essence of childhood for an adult, though the actors did do a great job nonetheless. Josephine, the mother (played by Lucy Peacock), was great in her role, bringing an atmosphere of regality and elegance every time she appeared onstage. Other actors included Oliver Grant as the uncle, Steve McCourt as the father, Joey Dexter as the friendly help and love interest and Casey Jay Andrews as Elizabeth, and the co-writer of the play.
This play was made outstanding by the live music throughout, bringing a constant flow, meaning that the play had little to no awkward scenes or transitions in it. The music was played by the actors as well, with only three guitars and a violin, complimenting the story rather well. Some upbeat music was used during the children’s story telling and slower, more gradual flowing music was used during the delivery of letters between the family and the father. Both Joey Dexter and Casey Jay Andrews have to be commended for their harmonies throughout, and Oliver Grant’s violin skills were a delight. The ending finished on a musical high note due to the use of almost all of the cast’s voices to bring a harmony. That was pleasant to the ears, and the use of lighting in this scene also made it that much more memorable.
The Jack Studio Theatre can hold up to 50 people; This intimate space was used well throughout and the set was decorated as the house of the Connor family. At the beginning, the sound effects of bombs and war truly added a sense of intrigue. The use of lighting and sound, especially towards the end, was done very well with the use of shadows and silence of the space to create a certain type of atmosphere for each scene. The adjoining pub was also a great place to spend some time before and after the production, especially due to the excellent quiz nights that happen there! The staff and everyone were extremely friendly, which was an added bonus.
Being told through letters, stories and future dialogues, the story has a steady pace, lasting around 75-minutes. Though the story itself was not overly original, it had a charm to it and the addition of folk music was truly a delightful aspect. The combination of puppetry, music and movement brought out the joy of the children and were constructed well, making it visually appealing. Overall, the play was surprisingly wonderful and fascinating, pulling at the heart-strings of its audience.
Authors: Casey Jay Andrews and Nathan Foad
Director: David Thackeray
Producer: Hookhitch Theatre
Composer: George Jennings
Box Office: 0333 666 3366
Booking Link: http://brockleyjackstudio.ticketsource.co.uk/events
Booking Until: 20 February 2016