An exploding glitter cannon, falling snow in the auditorium, heaps of warmth and charming, innocent humour, this show is perfect.
Directed by the ever-brilliant Emma Earle, this family musical is pure theatre magic. Zoe Squire has designed a playful, whimsical set which the characters alter throughout the show. The puppets by Nick Barnes are delightful and ably operated by Toby Manley and Lucy Grattan. The lively, catchy songs by Luke Bateman and Richy Hughes further enhance the enchanting nature of the show.
Painter and decorator Mr Popper (Russell Morton) leads a very conventional life in Stillwater with his wife Mrs Popper (Roxanne Palmer) but listening to exciting tales on the radio, he dreams of adventure in far flung places. His expansive imaginings, superbly acted out by Morton, contrast with the myopic, provincial life he is living. This is cleverly visualised when wonderfully exotic fabrics escape from Mr Popper’s industrial sized paint pots.
One day adventure comes to him; the doorbell rings and a large crate arrives containing an Antarctic penguin. Mr and Mrs Popper adjust to life with their new friend but the penguin is lonely. Upon hearing of his plight, the zookeepers at London Zoo send Mr Popper another penguin – this time a lady – and soon (inevitably) the house is overrun with a colony of penguins. Mr Popper turns his home into a penguin palace and much hilarity ensues as the Popper’s try to keep up with their fish loving friends. Eventually the Popper’s decide to earn a bit of dosh and put on a theatre spectacular showcasing the penguins many talents. One of the songs in this show-within-a-show contains the lines: “wherever you go you’ll not see a show like Mr Popper’s Penguins/ I know they’ll capture your heart”. How very true.
Mr Popper’s Penguins is an outstanding musical – playful, inventive and enchanting. See this show!
Review by Laura Jane-Foley
Mr Popper’s Penguins
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An enchanting musical production suitable for all the family
Thursday 14th January – Sunday 17th January
The Rose Theatre Kingston