Rudolf: Mike Akers
The MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Queen’s Ride, Birmingham B12 9QH
Saturday 17th Nov – Monday 31st Dec
Runs 1hr 15
Review: Freddie Anderson, 19 November 2018
Heart-warming, funny and so much going on
If you’re anything like Rudolf, one confused reindeer, and don’t know where to take the children this season, the Midland Arts Centre has its doors open with their wonderfully welcoming winter warmer.
Arriving early for the performance, I instantly felt the atmosphere of the MAC, a large open space with café’s galore and plenty of things to keep busy minds interested. I walked past the children’s area (which could be argued as the whole building), towards where I had been directed, down a corridor were new works were being presented from graduate artists, something for the older ones amongst us to appreciate in the contemporary building.
Time to go in, and join the queue of excited people walking into the theatre, and already I’m in the show. Without giving too much away, the actors are all ready, inviting adults to hold brooms and younger ones to help with the cleaning up. And they did so, very excitedly, another side effect of the show for children…learning to clean.
The story Akers writes is simple, but heart-warming and universal. But what leaves many memories are the actors; ability to play live, and really listen to one another. We are taken along a humbling story of how Rudolf gains confidence and finds out who she really is.
The story is delivered for the most part by our kindly Owl Baggie, and Cammock’s mastery of this puppetry was so engaging and enjoyable to watch as when Bristow brings a tear to my eye with her portrayal of loneliness, and beautiful aligned with the qualities of a loving soul lost from the herd. The Earl takes centre stage for adult humours with his quick one liners, which go over the children’s heads, hopefully.
At one point the story takes a jail break out turn, and I see all the children leaning forward without delay, ready to shout “he’s behind you” without any encouragement.
Charlotte Cooke designs a pleasantly Feng Shui set design, nothing imposing but enabling, allowing Tea Poldervaart to surreptitiously take over a crate for a drum kit at one point. Asking whether this was part of the composition, alas it’s not, but what I love is that so much of these elements which sometimes push to the front, sit back and support the story telling, and it’s just the case in Stuart Barter and his composition.
A well-directed, and well executed engaging piece of seasonal family fun.
Hannah Bristow: Rudolf
Lakesha Cammock: Baggie
Tea Poldervaart: The Earl
Mike Akers: Writer
Anna Girvan: Director
Charlotte Cooke: Designer
Stuart Barter: Composer
Laura Cubitt: Puppet Director
Claire Childs: Lighting Designer