REVIEW: The Owl and the Pussycat @ Northern Stage

Posted on February 21st 2018 by Whats on Northeast

Review by Anne Marie Hemmer

The Owl and the Pussycat – Devised and created by Kitchen Zoo with Director Ruth Mary Johnson and Musician Jeremy Bradfield

Intimate, engaging and fun are what springs to my mind for this rendition of Edward Lear’s nonsense poem presented by the Kitchen Zoo Theatre company.

The Owl (Hannah) and Pussycat (Bob) greeted and entertained children and adults prior to the start of the show, which I found slightly unusual though highly endearing, inviting the audience to take seats with most of the children sitting on the floor as near to the characters on stage as they could get. Children sitting on the floor reminded me of the days when I was at school waiting for story time and the anticipation of what was next to come.

The playfulness of hiding the puppets whilst working the room was entertaining and actually made me laugh with the children, capturing the children’s attention and giving a further intimacy to the show.

It’s been years since I had heard the poem and my thoughts were will this work as a stage play?  Was I going to find out what a Runcible Spoon was?

The show was vibrant, colourful and interpreted how the Owl and the Pussycat became friends with lots of songs along the way, thanks to the musician Jeremy. I particularly liked the Row song, simple actions which got faster and faster, until your arms ached. The children were really involved with playing along to the movements and singing the songs, which was thoroughly enjoyable to be part of.

Everyone was encouraged to participate as well as the actors bringing the story into the audience. There was an improvised moment when the sea (a blue sheet) went over the heads of the children and the Owl (Hannah) was about to return to the stage, a young boy was holding on to it.  The Owl (Hannah) turned around and exclaimed,’ I’ve caught a fish’.  A ripple of laughter erupted around the room and the little boy’s face lit up.

The Turkey, Bongo Tree and the Pig were designed and introduced very well, the creativity and imagination of the props immersed you in the story, especially the poor Pig stuck in a biscuit tin from eating all the biscuits. He felt sorry for himself however the Owl and the Pussycat bought his ring for a shilling to satisfy his desire for more biscuits. It was ‘Twix-ed together’ and everyone was happy.

Overall it was great entertainment for children and adults and timed right.  I would highly recommend going to see this sell out show. I left smiling, as it was a lighthearted warm play however I still never found out what a ‘Runcible spoon’ is….never mind  lol (Lovely Owl Love) Twit Twoo and Meow

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