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The Book Of Beasts

The Book Of Beasts

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The Book of Beasts @ Perth Concert HallMay 29 2009 by Alison Anderson, Perthshire Advertiser Friday THE three-strong cast went beyond the call of duty by engaging with their young audience while excited school children filed into Perth Theatre for this inspirational choice on the Perth Festival programme.Catherine Wheels Theatre Company came to the Perth Festival as part of a current tour of their adaptation of The Book of Beasts, a story for children written in 1900 by E Nesbit, of Railway Children fame.It was a refreshingly simple production in this age of computer animation and special effects, taking a Chronicles of Narnia-esque step back in time when children of posh families had nurses, kings made the laws for their kingdom, and wardrobe doors opened to adventures.The hero of the story is Lionel, who one day is told that the king is dead and he, being next in line to the throne, has to be whisked off to the palace for his coronation.Despite being king, Lionel cannot resist temptation, and when he disobeys the prime minister's instructions not to open the mysterious Book of Beasts, the task of dealing with the consequences rests on his young shoulders.(The hungry dragon released from the book isn't all bad â€" it consumes all members of parliament, although we're not told if their weighty expenses forms makes the beast violently vomit.)Scott Turnbull playing Lionel and multi-tasking Gill Robertson and Ian Cameron employed some clever stage techniques to act out the young king's quest to restore order in his realm.Under Jo Timmins' direction The Book of Beasts gives enough slack rein for the young members of the audience to use their imagination, aided by David Trouton's lively score and the clever design by Karen Tennent plus Lizzie Powell's evocative lighting.It was encouraging to see schools from around Perth and Kinross support Perth Festival's all-inclusive programming policy.Alison Anderson

http://www.perthshireadvertiser.co.uk/lifestyle/lifestyle-news/2009/05/29/the-book-of-beasts-perth-concert-hall-73103-23735798/
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