The Man Who Wanted To Be A Penguin

Reviewed by Jodie Crawford

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the story of an interesting and eccentric man, who is an explorer and inventor at heart. Living in “The Shed” spending his time “solving problems” The Man (Steve Salt) is beginning to realise that perhaps his neighbours and friends aren’t as interested in the same things that he is and when he plans a birthday party (albeit at very short notice) and nobody turns up, it is the final straw. 

Spurred on by the delivery, from the lovely postal worker (Loretta Hope), of a globe, The Man decides that he is going to visit Antarctica and become a penguin.

Along the way he meets a bearded explorer, and together they face the harsh challenges of snow and blizzards. From here The Man begins to finally feel a part of something, for the first time. 

Steve Salt and Loretta Hope are just wonderful, they are so at ease together on stage and together they capture the imaginations of the audience. The physical theatre of this piece is exquisite, Director Niki McCretton has devised a way in which the narrative is told through very little dialogue in parts and it works so well: it’s like a beautifully choreographed dance.

The set and puppets and props by Holly Miller are just wonderful; the use of duvets for snow works so majestically.

This company does what it aims to do – “make memorable and rewarding shows” – it is a show written for children, about being true to yourself, challenging yourself, accepting others and building friendships. What else could we possible want for our children this Christmas?

The stars of the show were, of course, the penguins. So many sizes, so many designs, all so utterly adorable. My children were keen to get home to write “a penguin” on their Christmas list.

The Man Who Wanted To Be A Penguin is on at Waterside Arts until Saturday 31st December tickets available here.

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