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Kipper’s Snowy Day at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 1st Dec 2014 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

For national press_Luminous Photography Kipper the Dog-1044.jpg

Photo: Luminous Photography
We all know that the best shows aren’t always to be found in the biggest theatres. Arts centres and fringe theatres around the country produce some real gems, with real stars.

Such is the case at Maidenhead’s arts centre where two of the puppeteers appearing in this year’s Christmas show are, in fact, stars of the West End production of War Horse.

Mikey Brett, who shadows Kipper the dog in this production by Slot Machine, has been puppeteer for both Joey and Topthorn in the National Theatre production. While Robin Guiver, although a puppeteer and movement director who, along with Mikey worked as a movement artist on the film Gravity, played Geordie in the original West End cast.

In this stage version of Mick Inkpen’s classic children tale, however, there are not so many parts for them to move around. Kipper and his friends’ faces are inaminate objects but, although I found that a shame, it didn’t spoil the pleasure of my four-year-old fellow reviewer Oscar, who beamed all the way through the 50-minute show. Certainly Mikey, Robin and their co-star Amy Tweed bring Kipper and friends to life for their young audiences, in spite of nothing more to help set the scene than a snowy hill and a huge blank page on which scribbles and drawings appear.

But it is the clean, fresh simplicity of the set which emphasises the snow and the space in which Kipper delights. Just enough props like presents and a Christmas tree, together with lighting and original music, add atmosphere and colour. 

The songs were developed through workshops with local schoolchildren and express the excitement of Christmas Eve and playing in snow, perfectly reflecting the action in a show which proves that Brett and Guiver are not only superb puppeteers but also accomplished actors, singers and dancers.

There is, however, a lack of audience participation, which could well have been introduced when Kipper has to choose between a snowman and a star for the top of his Christmas tree.

But Oscar is full of praise. “Kipper is the best thing ever and if you go there you will love it,” he says.

Kipper's Snowy Day is at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead until  Dec 28. Box Office: 01628 788997. www.nordenfarm.org

 

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks, Clare. Oscar is a natural ... sign him up!!
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