The Pied Piper

University Theatre, the Arts Centre, Christchurch

08/07/2008 - 19/07/2008

Production Details

IMAGinE Children’s Theatre’s July holiday show, The Pied Piper, adapted by Martin Howells and produced by Helen Moran, brings adults and children alike a multi-layered joyous holiday experience. Featuring a cast of children alongside professional actors, The Pied Piper is an entertaining riot with the rodents and a magical journey not to be missed!

The University Theatre, Rolleston Avenue, the Arts Centre.
Tue 8 to Sun 13 July: 11am-12pm & 1pm-2pm, Tue 15 to Sat 19 July: 11am-12pm & 1pm-2pm.

Age group: 4-14yrs.
$8. Bookings recommended. Phone IMAGinE Children’s Theatre on 03 365 5227. Caregiver Required, At Cost.

The Performers
Jeremy Finnigan:  The Pied Piper
Norman Forsey:  The Mayor
Helen Moran:  The Storyteller, Old Nadia
plus alternating casts of child performers

Associate Director:  Martin Howells 
Music:  Folk sources, 2 songs by permission from Dominic Muldowney* 
Lighting design & Technical operation:  Rob McGregor 
Technical Advice: Josh Major, Aidan Simon
Choreography:  Sarah Franks and Helen Moran
Sound:  Martin Howells
Set:  Chris Reddington
Poster design:  Jono Moran
Costume:  Mozarts, Court Costume Hire, Robyn Davison
Publicity:  Helen Moran

Adminstrative Assistance:  Laurence Varlet 

Inventive entertainment marred by recorded pipe

Review by Lindsay Clark 14th Jul 2008

For a large cast, the University Theatre is a tricky space to negotiate. The seating, part of an old lecture theatre, is steeply raked and the performing space itself is shallow, with limited access. A first impression of this production though, was how well the awkwardness had been overcome. For the audience becomes part of the mountain wall into which the fated children of Hamelin followed the magician Piper and the stage itself is transformed into a cleverly perspectived street with many entrances. 

Professional performers in key roles, with a versatile tribe of young’uns capering about, undertake this re-telling of the sad and cautionary legend. Framed as a memory play, it is introduced by an aged descendant, played by Helen Moran. Sometimes the words are hers, sometimes those of the lively Robert Browning poem and sometimes they are lived out in jaunty dialogue from the enthusiastic cast. 

Norman Forsey, as the greedy and conniving Mayor, has a high old time of it, colouring the role with pantomime intensity. He is surrounded by ‘found’ roles from the poem and legend, the ‘ladies’ of the town, the parents, the councillors – and of course the mysterious man with the twinkly eye and magic pipe himself. 

All good stuff, inventive and entertaining, allowing for the spread of experience onstage. The weakest link in the show is its musical dimension. Whereas the spoken word always works for it, the recorded accompaniments, sometimes with vocals, do not and the problem of cuing is an additional pitfall. The worst disappointment is to see the magic pipe held to the Piper’s lips and no live sound emerge. 

Perhaps this reservation hits old cynics in a way the young audience, for whom the production is after all intended, do not notice. For the momentum of the story is undeniable and the invitation to dance on the streets of this Hamelin afterwards was well received. 


Trygve July 14th, 2008

About the recorded flute bit "Perhaps this reservation hits old cynics in a way the young audience, for whom the production is after all intended, do not notice." - Sure, children are stupid, but that is no excuse to put on cheap, bad theatre.

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