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One Snowy Night at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 6th Dec 2015 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

I know I’m always extolling children’s theatre and declaring my admiration for the puppeteers and performers who travel the country injecting magic into the lives of little children. Well, here I go again!

Short and simple are two main ingredients to keep little ones engaged, so I am amazed at just how much substance there is to Slot Machine’s production of Nick Butterworth’s world-famous tale of Percy, the animal-loving park keeper while keeping it short and simple.

Essentially a heartwarming story about animals coming in out of the snow to snuggle down in the park keeper’s bed, One Snowy Night is 55 minutes packed with original music and songs, dance, comedy and puppetry, with underlying messages to enjoy the simple things in life, like parkland, and to be kind to your friends. My little companions (aged three and five) were transfixed!

TV, film and West End actor Clive Hayward exudes kindness and enthusiasm as the cheerful park keeper, but it is Rebecca Killick (who has toured extensively in War Horse) and Will Guppy who bring most of the animals to life, giving each of them a personality of their own - from the posh badger to the excitable ducks, the Welsh fox and the Scottish mice, often working more than one puppet at a time. Though imaginative and slick, Amelia Pimlott’s set is not huge, so things could easily become chaotic. However, the emphasis is on teamwork and, under the direction of Nicola Blackwell, Fiona Creese and Nick Tigg, this tightly orchestrated show passes off with military precision without losing its sense of fun.

One Snowy Night continues at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead until December 27. Box office: 01628 788997

www.nordenfarm.org

 

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