The Boy Who Cried Wolf at Bristol Old Vic

Rushing through the busy hot streets of Bristol, what a refreshing relief to find ourselves sitting in Bristol Old Vic’s open air theatre on King Street, watching The Boy who Cried Wolf… and other stories from Michael Morpurgo’s Aesop fables. Feasting our eyes on the grassy meadow of the stage, my son and I found ourselves immediately engaged in the production.

The set is beautiful: green vegetation, branches and simple props and costumes which are cleverly used throughout. White bean bags and marshmallows represent sheep, the tortoise is a woman in glasses, a beanie hat and a rucksack, and my favourite, the goose: a collection of rubber gloves, a duster, a bag and salad servers! All of it adds to the charm and humour of the performance.

The 5 cast members bring Aesop’s fables to life, as they effortlessly move about the stage, climbing and sliding down poles, with music and singing beautifully interwoven into the tales. Some of the old favourites are rolled out: The goose who laid an egg, The Sun and the Wind, The tortoise and the Hare, The travellers and the Bear… and of course, The Boy who cried Wolf.

The script is artful and quick-witted, appealing to all age groups. Casting a quick eye around the theatre, the seats were filled with captivated children, giggling away, whilst plenty of adults were delightfully entertained. Fable after fable is creatively told, each with its own moral which is humorously offered : to appreciate what we have and not always yearn for more, gentle persuasion can be more effective than brute force, slow and steady wins, to value our true friends and to tell the truth if we want to be believed.

A thoroughly enjoyable performance. You won’t be disappointed if you head down to Bristol’s King Street on a sunny afternoon.

The Boy who Cried Wolf …and Other stories is at Bristol Old Vic’s outdoor theatre until 1st September, 2013.

– Review by Andrea Harris

Weston-super-Mum Loves Cinema – Films this Summer

Weston-super-Mum is excited to announce that we are launching a series of family films to enjoy on the new big screen at Loves Cafe, West Street, WsM.

Each film is accompanied by an arts and crafts workshop relevant to the film.

£3 per child – no need to book just come along!

* Tuesday 23rd July, 4-7pm – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971).  Rated U.  Make the weirdest lollipops you’ve ever seen

* Monday 29th July, 4-7pm – Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977).  Rated U.   We’re thinking light sabers and hair-pieces.

* Monday 12th August, 4-7pm – Disney’s The Jungle Book (1967).  Rated U.     Sing-along anyone?

33 at Bristol Old Vic

Directed by Tom Brennan

Devised and performed by ‘The Wardrobe Ensemble’
33

We arrived at the beautiful Old Vic in Bristol to a queue waiting to go in to the ‘Studio’. I was surprised at the age range in those queuing. There were the over 60’s to families with kids. We went in and took our seats. Whilst waiting, a young lady came over and started to talk to us. She asked what we remembered about the mining disaster. I told her I remembered the guy who had a wife and mistress waiting for him. It turns out she was one of the cast and mentioned my memory on stage as did a couple of other cast members!

The production was beautifully choreographed, very well thought out and the special effects worked a treat. Without giving too much away they all helped me to believe they were the miners trapped in that mine.

The cast is made up of fairly young members but all performed with confidence and believability. I was very impressed with the changes in costume and character seen throughout.

We were taken on a funny, desperate and at times sad journey through the mining disaster. We saw a perspective of what was happening above and below ground. My favourite moment is a scene involving ‘Edison’ one of the miner running through the mine. The way this was done was inspired, just a brilliant moment.

The production is playing all week and there is a matinee on Saturday. It lasted about an hour which was just right. The group will be taking the performance to the Edinburgh Fringe where I have no doubt it will do very well.

The cast should be very proud of what they have created, this was the premier and I have no doubt it can only get better.

I thought it magnificent and would happily go again.

33 is showing at Bristol Old Vic until 13th July

– Review by Catriona Daynes

Tristan & Yseult at Bristol Old Vic

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On Thursday the 4th of July, I was lucky enough to take my seat at The Bristol Old Vic to watch Kneehigh Theatre’s Tristan and Yseult. This is a tale of love in its many forms that has received rave reviews across the board, so I was excited to see what the night would bring.

Set in Cornwall, we are introduced to King Mark, who manages to resist Irish invaders to his land and defeat their leader Morholt. Mark then decides he wants revenge and to possess the thing Morholt loves most. He sends his most trusted knight Tristan to seek out and capture Morholt’s sister Yseult so he can make her his wife. The spark of passion is immediate when Tristan and Yseult first meet, but this soon gives way to hate when she realises Tristan is the killer of her brother. But neither of them banked on what would happen when a love potion and wine are recklessly consumed, and passion yet again takes hold.

The show is seen through the eyes of The Unloved, a group of comic characters so charming and nerdy that, ironically, you couldn’t help loving them. Wandering the stage and the auditorium with their binoculars, they observe the lovers, the betrayal and heartache, but perhaps their plight of being unloved is the most painful of all.

It is hard to pick out a standout performance with such a strong cast. Tristan Sturrock and Patrycja Kujawska were wonderful as the hedonistic, passionate, yet flawed Tristan and Yseult. Carly Bawden was magnificent as Whitehands, our narrator who led us through the story. However, if I had to be drawn, I would pick Craig Johnson’s cross dressing performance of Brangian, maid to Yseult as my favourite. This comedic character could have been one dimensional, but Johnson managed to bring surprising vulnerability and tenderness to the role when Brangian is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice for Yseult.

A seamless blend of comedy, tragedy and high drama, with energetic dance routines and music that made me want to jump up out of my seat and dance. It shouldn’t work having a story about passion, betrayal and desire mixed with such physical comedy and sheer silliness, but Kneehigh seem to pull it off effortlessly. Tristan and Yseult was a riot for the senses, and I left wanting to see it again straight away. Sexy, funny, moving, heart wrenching and as near to perfect as anything I have seen on the stage. I left the theatre on a real high as it was practically impossible to not be swept away in the sheer exuberance of it all This is absolutely sensational theatre and I urge you to go and see it if you have the chance.

Tristan and Yseult? I am in love.

Tristan and Yseult is at Bristol Old Vic until July 20th

– Review by Karen Blake