“Light, entertaining children’s fare brings clear message that ‘there’s no place like home.'”
Reviewer: Christian W. Huber
Performance: 1 March 2017
Despite a late start from a rain-delayed morning, as well as settling the groups of pre-school kids into their seats, A Peter Rabbit Tale provides enough entertainment to chase away the dreary start to their mid-week morning’s routine.
This reimagined treatment of the beloved children’s classic by Beatrix Potter focuses on the importance of family, and the wonderful freedom of being yourself. It engages during its 50-minute duration. Kudos goes to director Eva Sampson in this entertaining piece with a spritely cast, simple but effective design by Alison Neighbour, and catchy original songs directed and arranged by Joanne Ho and Joel Nah. With just the right dose of audience participation – used sparingly but effectively each time the cast give chase or run from the stage into the auditorium – the show leaves kids with smiles on their faces, and a hum in their hearts!
Engaging children’s short attention span – which is ever so short in today’s iPhone generation – can be a baptism of fire for fresh and young theatre performers. When the young audiences don’t feel invested in or involved with what they are watching, the cast may experience noisy restlessness and audible sighs of boredom.
Hence, performers need to prioritise. Filling up their resumes by treading the boards, and showcasing their triple threat skills (singing, acting, and dancing) to future producers, directors, casting agents, etc. with a lack of heart, will not a good children’s theatre production make.
A good script and an easy-to-relate message played with heart help create the magic that theatre can conjure up for the viewer, and to inspire the young to appreciate the arts at an early age.
Thankfully The Little Company has achieved the latter in this production. Since the young audience have engaged with the show from the get-go, it would not hurt for all cast members to commit more fully.
A Peter Rabbit Tale satisfies the children’s expectations with a young and energetic cast, ably acting, singing, and dancing their roles with ease. The standout performer for this reviewer has to be Siti Maznah. Playing five different characters, her Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle – the hedgehog with Tina Turner-inspired hair, a massive tutu and Doc Marten boots – showcases her heart as a performer and one that truly engages the audience – young and old.
The Little Company’s tagline, “Big Theatre for Little People” has enthralled children from ages two to 12 with English and Mandarin productions since 2001. With its downplaying of props, costumes, and bringing home the message of “home is where the heart is”, A Peter Rabbit Tale hops forward in the right direction, and makes for a great 2017 season opener.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
A PETER RABBIT TALE by The Little Company
24 February – 14 April 2017
KC Arts Centre
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Christian is a C42 Boiler Room 2016 playwright, and enjoys being an audience member to different mediums of the arts. He finds arts invigorating to the soul, and truly believes that the vibrant arts scene has come a long way from its humble beginnings.