The Snow Gorilla at the RoseChristmas 2013CultureTheatre
The Christmas season is upon us and many will want to find a way to entertain children beyond TV and sugar. The Rose Theatre in Kingston has gone for something new, combining the magic and skills of the circus with some of the traditions of Christmas pantomime. The Snow Gorilla is developed by Bor productions, who have a background in the circus.
Sunny runs away to the circus where he falls in love with the ringmistress’s daughter. The ringmistress keeps a gorilla – voiced by Brian Blessed – in a cage. He can talk but nobody knows – he wants to go home. Meanwhile, the magician is pilfering cash from the ringmistress and in due time is found out by Sunny and the gorilla, the story unfolding.
The Snow Gorilla is weak on story and lyrics, but its performers are all strong. These strengths and weaknesses are recognised – most of the evening is taken up with the acrobats, flamenco dancers and jugglers that make up its ensemble cast. A contortionist is a delight. Children will draw more from these than from the plot. Ciaran Joyce and Lucy Kope-Barne – the romantic leads – are luminously determined. Directing is occasionally slipshod; intimate scenes following acrobatics are marred by the clanging of dismantled sets. Musing on how or where the gorilla’s puppeteer moves will provide many a wondrous moment. An appropriately fun-filled evening for the festive season.
The Snow Gorilla is on at the Rose Theatre until 6th January 2014, for further information or to book visit here.