946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips: 4Star****, London, To 11 September

London
946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips
Adapted by Michael Morpurgo & Emma Rice
4Star****

Shakespeare’s Globe to Sept 11
21 New Globe Walk,
Bankside,
London SE1 9DT

Runs 2hrs 30mins incl 15min interval

TICKETS 020 7401 9919 or 0871 297 0749 (booking fee applies)
In person: Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm (8pm on perf days);
Sundays: 10am-5pm (7pm on perf days)
On-line: www.shakespearesglobe.com

Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen Aug 19, 2016

Splendid, and splendidly inventive
`Bertolt Brecht said, in the dark times there will be singing’, says a character at the beginning of this adaptation by Michael Morpurgo and Kneehigh director and now Shakespeare Globe’s artistic director, Emma Rice, of Morpurgo’s WWII delightful children’s story.

And don’t Kneehigh make that come life-enhancingly true. The one thing you can rely on with them is their inventiveness and pleasure factor. Morpurgo too has a way of transcending generations, appealing to all age groups. Together, he, Rice and the company which includes Kneehigh’s founder, Mike Shepherd charm the audience into their hearts with this affectionate, poignant rising-above-adversity, we’re-all in it together story.

Morpurgo isn’t the only children’s author to have found valuable source material in WWII with which to speak to today’s young. But he’s probably the only one to match a child’s journey – Lily’s loss of her pet cat, Tips – with the real life tragedy of 946 American soldiers and sailors who died in Devon during D-Day rehearsals – an incident so successfully hushed up it only came to light 40 years on.

As the incorrigible Lily, Katy Owen, brings a wonderful sense of ten year old truculence to a young girl who finds herself encountering bombs, injury, evacuees and the strange sight of black American GIs. Shepherd himself does a nice duo as the Grandma whose is the vehicle for flashback to wartime and as Lily’s grandfather.

But there are delightful portraits all round in a cast whose style of performance is a steady balance of ingenuity (puppets, models, and a fabulous array of tin baths passing for D-Day harbour emplacements) with playful often moving realism.

Death, love, sacrifice and the Holocaust all find their mirror in a two and a half hour show kept buoyant by music director Stu Barker’s terrific catalogue of musical numbers ranging through wartime swing, American spirituals, gospel, Nina Simone, Steppenwolf, John Denver led charismatically by Blues Man, Adebayo Bolaji.

The ultimate `feel good’ family show, my only caveat would be a tendency to over-sentimentalise and someone should really remind Rice that those sitting at the side are also paid up audience members re sightlines!

In all other respects, a triumph!

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips
Adapted by Michael Morpurgo & Emma Rice

Cast:

Tips the Cat/Harry: Nandi Bhebbe
Blues Man/Old Adi: Adebayo Bolaji
Madame Bounine: Emma Darlow
Adi: Ncuti Gatwa
Lily’s Mum/Skunkhead: Kyla Goodey
Grandad Present/Vicar/Lily’s Dad: Chris Jared
Lily Tregenza: Katy Owen
Grandma Present/Grandad Past: Mike Shepherd
Boowie/Barry: Adam Sopp
Lord Something-or-Other/Mrs Turner: Ewan Wardrop

Music DirectorMusician: Pat Moran
Musician: Seamas Carey

Villagers, soldiers, evacuees, chickens and everything else are played by the company

Adapters: Michael Morpurgo, Emma Rice
Director: Emma Rice
Set Designer: Börkur Jónsson
Composer: Stu Barker
Set & Costume Designer: Les Brotherston
Sound Designer: Simon Baker
Lighting Designer: Malcolm Rippeth
Associate Director: Simon Harvey
Associate Sound Designer: Jay Jones
Choreographers: Emma Rice, Etta Murfitt
Puppet Director: Sarah Wright
Globe Associate – Movement: Glynn MacDonald
Voice & Dialect: Martin McKellan
Costume Supervisor: Lorraine Ebdon-Price

First perf of this production of 946:The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips at Shakespeare Globe, Southwark, London, Aug 11, 2016

2016-08-20 10:07:56

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