Children’s Play: The Selfish Giant
Venue: Pocklington Arts Centre
Review by: Julia Pattison
It was a joy to see the main auditorium packed to the rafters with families eagerly awaiting Soup Soap Theatre and Bide Productions latest children’s show “The Selfish Giant”.
It wasn’t too long ago when only the first few rows were occupied when a children’s theatre company visited Pocklington; luckily word has spread about PAC’s excellent choice of quality children’s theatre and these small theatre companies are finally getting the recognition they so richly deserve.
The Selfish Giant was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s famous classic story, and centres on a lonely, selfish giant called Grinter.
In this, their first co-production Soup Soap Theatre, with their puppetry, object manipulation and clown experience, have combined forces with Tessa Bide Productions and the result is a magical family show sure to melt anyone’s heart.
In the story, the children (cleverly portrayed by both puppets and the two actors alternatively) find a chink in the giant’s wall and climb through changing the course of the children’s and Grinter’s lives forever.
In this production Grinter the Giant was played by Rosamund Hine, and the role of Poppy (the young child who eventually thaws Grinter’s frozen heart) was played by Charlotte Dubery, and what a great team they made, engaging their young audience from the very beginning with their antics.
The set, designed by Tomasin Cuthbert Menes was wonderfully imaginative, from the clothes strewn about to represent snow, to the brilliant creation of the giant’s high wall, and the dramatic bringing down of the enclosure.
Atmospheric sound and lighting all added to the magic of the action on stage apart from the time when the music was so loud it unfortunately drowned the dialogue.
After this enchanting production, the children were invited to meet Grinter, Poppy and the puppets; it was a delight to see so many children marvelling at the puppets and the set, completely enchanted by what they’d just experienced.
On leaving the theatre, each child was made to feel very special by being handed a bag of treats which included colouring crayons and a picture of the giant’s garden to colour in – a lovely touch and much appreciated by the youngsters and their families.