Hare and Tortoise
- Kelly Apter
- 17 September 2009
A noisy audience at a children’s show can mean one of two things: the kids are so bored they’re chatting among themselves, or they’re so involved they just can’t keep a lid on it. Happily for Licketyspit theatre company, the latter was true at the performance I saw.
Adapted from Aesop’s well-loved fable, Hare and Tortoise is a hugely likeable show that manages to turn a 60-second story into a 60-minute event. The tale itself remains largely untouched – hare is an over-confident speedball, tortoise a methodical plodder, and they’re both determined to win the race.
But writers Virginia Radcliffe and Deborah Arnott have also added a human element to these formerly two-dimensional characters. Both have hopes and desires, good and bad sides to their nature, leading to a happy twist at the end. Previously performed by Radcliffe and Arnott themselves, the roles have been taken over by Paul Chaal and Tas Emiabata, who do a fine job of switching between characters.
Most enjoyable of all are larger-than-life bakers, the Bun Brothers. During one of many moments of fun participation, they recruit the entire audience to help bake a cake. From dreaming up our favourite ingredients, to whisking our bowl and throwing the contents on stage, we’re encouraged to use our imaginations.
A smattering of songs, silly costumes and an innovative set all conspire to make this tale of one-upmanship, greed but, ultimately, friendship enjoyable for all.
The Old Sheriff Court, Glasgow, Sat 26 Sep; Macrobert, Stirling, Sun 27 Sep