THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD: Russell Hoban, adapt Tamsin Oglesby
RSC: RST, Stratford Upon Avon
Runs: 2h 20m, one interval, till 12 01 13

Review: Alexander Ray, 29 11 12

Delightfully anarchic, bit too frenetic, worth a peek whatever your age.

THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD is a strange little tale, brought to life in this adaptation by Tamsin Oglesby – frequently terrific, but with some drawbacks.
A clockwork mouse and his child are abandoned in the wide, and cruel, world. Hunted by Rat (he collects clockwork) they set out to find their friends, their only family, and set up a home all together.

Their world is peopled with fabulous characters – each lovingly created by a talented cast. An elephant clearly from the upper classes (Carla Mendonca), an American hippy frog (David Charles) and a saxophone playing seal (Naomi Sheldon) to name but a few. To say nothing of the dotty birds, Julia Innocenti and Martin Hyder as Mrs and Mr Crow, and Stephen Harper as Euterpe.

In this mad world, Daniel Ryan and Bettrys Jones play with lovely naivete to create the Mouse and his Child; counteracting this is the delightful wickedness of Michael Hodgson’s Manny.

The young audience enjoys the sense of naughty anarchism, but the production could do with relaxing a bit, trusting in the material to work and trusting the young audiences to work with the material. You don’t have to thrust everything hard in the face of young people to hold their attentions and clarity is, from time to time, sacrificed. Director and Adapter have missed an important element in this tale – you wouldn’t gather from the production that all these toys have been cruelly abandoned . . . by children.

Paul Anderson’s lighting design is annoying; characters on the edge of the acting space are often left in the dark and many scenes are difficult to follow because inadequately lit over-all.

Thought-provoking, nevertheless, and that’s a big positive.

David Charles- Rat
Paapa Essiedu- Rat
Calum Finlay – Rat
Stephen Harper – Euterpe
Michael Hodgson – Manny
Martin Hyder – Mr Crow
Julia Innocenti – Ralphie/Mrs Crow
Bettrys Jones – Child
Ansu Kabia – Rat
Carla Mendonça – Elephant
Thomas Pickles – Rat
Daniel Ryan – Mouse
Naomi Sheldon – Rat
Ged Simmons – Rat
Bart Soroczynski – Rat
David Sterne – Rat
Simeon Truby – Rat
Obioma Ugoala – Rat
Director – Paul Hunter
Designer – Angela Davies
Lighting – Paul Anderson
Music – Iain Johnstone
Sound – Andrew Franks
Movement – Sian Williams
Music Director – Bruce O’Neill
Video Designer – Max White

2012-12-02 21:00:16

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