I was fortunate enough to attend the world premier production of Terry Jones’ Nicobbobinus at the Lost Theatre yesterday. For those of you who have never been to the Lost Theatre, it is a lovely family inspired venue located between Vauxhall and Stockwell Stations. As well as theatre productions, they also boast dance classes and youth theatre for local kids.
The venue, like Dr Who’s Tardis, is much bigger on the inside! The staff are warm and friendly, the bar was decorated with Christmassy tinsel and they served mince pies and mulled wine for the adults as well as an array of soft drinks for the children in attendance.
The show itself is a magical masterpiece for kids of all ages! My friend and I attended a Saturday matinee performance. The only 2 adults there without young children we still thoroughly enjoyed it, laughed along and embraced our inner child!
The show is 2 hours long with an interval, and I must say, all the children appeared to be fully entertained all the way through, which as we know is proof itself that the show has legs and works!
Performing for children is a risky business, you get immediate feedback, children get bored, walk out, talk or in this case, tell their parents what is coming next and get really excited and join in with the cast. I absolutely loved hearing the young boy who was sitting behind me tell his family what was coming next and that “I’m not happy about this bit, because they lock him in a cage!”.
For those, like me, who didn’t know that Terry Jones is an award winning children’s author, this production of Nicobobinus is a perfect introduction to his work. Jones’ has cleverly crafted a modern day fairytale which is fun to watch, and touches the imaginations of its audience. It’s themes span friendship, greed, religion and imagination.
The piece has been cleverly adapted by John Ward and musical direction by Eilidh deBonnaire. The show is a true ensemble piece with only 5 cast members (although there is an audio cameo from Terry Jones!) The two protagonists are Nicobobinus, superbly portrayed by Max Runham and his best friend Rosie again played with effortless delight, by Samantha Sutherland. The other three cast members play numerous characters that the children happen upon in their journey. These are performed by Jofre Alsina, Eildh DeBonnaire and Lloyd Gorman. Again, these performers are multi-talented and give A+ performances throughout.
The production is high energy, very animated and a joy to watch. The cast members all play multiple instruments, sing, and act, they are what some may describe as a triple threat! The production incorporates various genres and devices from physical theatre, mime, animation, musical theatre and storytelling direct to the audience. There are also various nods to the Monty Python performers that adults will enjoy, snow to make you feel all christmassy and splendid graphics projected on to the set.
Nicobobinus is a moralistic high-energy production, with an amazingly talented cast, songs that stick in your head long after the production and a great moral behind it. A definite must for young families and grown up kids.
Review by Faye Stockley
Red Ladder Theatre Company and DumbWise present the world premiere stage adaptation of Monty Python Terry Jones’ children’s book, NICOBOBINUS. An adventurous family musical adaptation of the award-winning author’s tale about the boy ‘who could do anything’, NICOBOBINUS premieres at LOST Theatre, Vauxhall from 11 December – 3 January 2015.
Adapted and directed by Red Ladder associate director John Ward, and comprising a cast of five actor musicians, this epic adventure brings Terry’s story to life with original songs, instrumental acrobatics, singing, excitement and Monty Python-esque wit.
In a land where Dragons are locked in boiler rooms and mountains move like the oceans, Nicobobinus and his best friend Rosie embark on a wild adventure to cure him of a golden curse. Obstructed by kidnapping pirates and savage nine foot monks, will they find the cure in time or be forced to return to their home in Venice, changed forever?
Best known as one of the much loved Monty Python troop, Terry Jones is also an award-winning children’s writer. His previous works include FAIRY TALES, THE SAGA OF ERIK THE VIKING and FAIRY TALES AND FANTASTIC STORIES. This adaptation of NICOBOBINUS stays true to Jones’ acclaimed work and embodies that same adventurous, jovial spirit that is evident in the Pythons.
Terry Jones comments: “Nicobobinus is one of my favourite characters – he’s full of magic and charm and will jump off the page with no trouble. I saw an in-development version of the show last year at Greenwich Theatre and was blown away by its energy and vibrancy – and I will be there in the front row in December!”
Chris Lloyd, Producer at Red Ladder comments: “Terry continues to be an incredibly busy man, and as such we continue to be ever grateful for his ongoing support of this first ever stage adaptation of Nicobobinus. Director John Ward is a life-long fan of the book, and he has created a version which really does justice to the magic and imagination of Terry’s story. We’re really thrilled to be working with DumbWise on such an exciting new show.”
Max Runham – Nicobobinus
Samantha Sutherland – Rosie
Eilidh DeBonnaire – Golden Man, The Abbot and others (also MD)
Lloyd Gorman – Dr Sebastian, Captain Loris, The Jester and others
Jofre Alsina – Bartholomew, King Pactolus and Great Dragon
Terry Jones – Ashkanet The Dragon
Adapted by John Ward from Terry Jones’ original children’s story
Original Compositions: Eilidh deBonnaire
Director: John Ward
Musical Director: Eilidh deBonnaire
Sunday 14th December 2014