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Noah's Ark at the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 3rd Dec 2011 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin
Noah - the Vulture-s.jpg

This is adventure! 

This is a show for children but it is so imaginative, colourful and creative   that adults will enjoy it as well. Written by Mervyn Peake, who is also responsible for Gormenghast, this play has never been performed since it was written some 55 years ago, except for an adaptation as a radio play for the BBC in the 1980s. The show is filled with catchy tunes and actors dressing up as animals and colourful costumes. 

The action starts in a nursery. A boy is playing Noah’s Ark and enjoys it so much that he doesn’t want to sleep. Finally, he gets so tired that he falls asleep and dreams: A chicken appears and asks the children to guard her eggs when a cock pops up looking for her. He is a real macho rooster, strutting all over the stage and into the audience. Chicken and Cock are part of Mr. Noah’s household. Noah looks more like a hippie than a biblical figure wearing a rainbow shirt and motley trousers and he strums a mean guitar. Noah and his wife have three silly sons and 3 even sillier daughters and live together with their animals – a cock, a hen, Mr. and Mrs. Goat, and two pigs. Noah has been having visions about a flood so they start building the Ark. More and more animals arrive including a lion, two storks and the bad guys in this play - a hyena and a vulture – who are a very comical pair indeed.  Together they embark on a big and unique adventure. 

The whole ensemble is excellent but I especially enjoyed Barry McStay as the Cock (he also plays the Lion and Ham) and Adam Langstaff as the Vulture (also Pig and Shem). Lawrence O’Connor was a fatherly Noah and Emily Wallis was endearingly enthusiastic as the Boy.
There is plenty of audience participation and enough action on stage that none of the children can get bored. The play is suitable for ages 7 -11.

Until 20 December 2011 at the Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell

Blue Elephant Theatre, 59a Bethwin Rd, (entrance in Thompson's Ave), Camberwell, London, SE5 0XT

·                Sunday 4 December 3pm

·                Wednesday 7 December 1.30pm

·                Thursday 8 December 1.30pm

·                Friday 9 December 7.30pm

·                Saturday 10 December 3pm (post-show talk with Sebastian Peake) & 7.30pm

·                Sunday 11 December 3pm

·                Wednesday 14 December 1.30pm

·                Thursday 15 December 1.30pm

·                Friday 16 December 7.30pm

·                Saturday 17 December 3pm & 7.30pm

·                Sunday 18 December 3pm

·                Monday 19 December 3pm & 7.30pm

·                Tuesday 20 December 3pm & 7.30pm

Carolin Kopplin 

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