A virtual (in two senses) menagerie gathered around their tech for this Zoom show written and directed by Jeff James. Gallery View revealed sixty-odd screens showcasing kids done up as badgers, cats, tigers, crocodiles… you name it, all un-human life was here. From paper masks to face-paint and onesies, the animals were present and correct, with quite a few adults roped into the dressing up fun as well.
This take on the biblical tale of the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark focusses on vain Peacock (Kyle Stoller, previously of The Inheritance) and his more empathetic mate Peahen (Danusia Samal). Peacock is a preening nightmare who annoys the rest of the forest animals with his constant attention seeking and flaunting of his gorgeous plumage, while Peahen lives very patiently in his shadow.
When the rains come, Peacock refuses to leave the safety of the roost lest he bedraggle his feathers, so Peahen treks off to the Ark without him. The strict ‘two by two’ door policy presents a bureaucratic obstacle, but a cunning slight of hand (or wing) sees Peahen pairing up with a duck and gaining a place on the boat. But what of Peacock?
With Patricia Davenport and Bradley Foster playing various other roles, the locked-down cast do a fine job performing from their separate homes, using basic home made costume elements to conjure their characters. The audience are encouraged to contribute to the soundscape at several points with animal noises and special effects – I joined in blowing over the top of a beer bottle and rustling bits of cut-up Sunday Times to summon forest sounds.
The show’s marketing recommends it for audiences aged 5-9, but there were many younger children taking part, and it would be worth looking out for any future performances if you have kids of any age who enjoy dressing up and getting involved with telling a simple story with a happy ending and a lesson about not being too proud of your plumage.
Written & Directed by: Jeff James
Produced by: Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company
Booking link: This show has completed its current run