We felt a bit frazzled by the time we got to Colchester Arts Centre to see the show: jostling with crowds of people around Colchester all trying to find the perfect Christmas gift can make anyone feel a bit grumpy.
But Goblin Theatre’s Peter and the Wolf was the perfect antidote.
With its gentle humour and creative storytelling, using props and puppets, it was a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of Christmas and a delightful alternative to a traditional pantomime. It still offered lots of audience participation though and allowed us the fun of shouting “he’s behind you”, when Peter couldn’t locate the beautifully realised kettle duck which was sitting on his head!
Peter’s Grandpa is a bit grumpy too. His main aim is to keep everyone, especially the wolf, out of the camp in order to protect himself and Peter. But he soon finds out that appearances can be deceptive and that perhaps the wolf is not what he expects him to be.
Inspired by Prokofiev’s original, the show captures the idea of a ‘symphonic fairy tale’ by interweaving musical sounds, instruments and songs for each of the characters. The suggestion that a sound on its own may be a bit awkward but together they make something fantastic is a wonderful analogy for the world today and a brilliant Christmas message.
And the Arts Centre really was a perfect venue for this show; even the lady sitting behind me remarked: “isn’t it lovely and calm in here”. She’d never visited before but thought it was fantastic that the layout gave her little ones a chance to sit on mats at the front so they could still see her, and seats for the adults and older ones. There were children as young as 4 (and possibly younger) and as old as 10 or 11, and there was hardly any shuffling. My two are 8 and 10 and they both loved it.
The ‘help yourself’ to squash, biscuits and tea or coffee, with a donation to the honesty box, was a brilliant idea and made the experience even more relaxed. We would highly recommend this show for kids of all ages, and grown-ups too.
Spending an hour in the Arts Centre with Peter and the Wolf is probably something everyone should do this Christmas, especially if you’re feeling a bit grumpy.