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