It is remarkably effective and thought-provoking writing
There were only four adults present at this performance, but Tudball successfully engaged with every single one of us. He is a masterful storyteller and thoroughly believable dad. Heather Bagnall’s script is simple on the surface, but deals with surprisingly deep themes of loss, bullying and being different in a world of gender stereotypes. It is remarkably effective and thought-provoking writing. With no children present at this performance, their reaction to it can only be hypothesised. It’s likely that some of the more subtle themes would have escaped them, but the basic message of the script would be clear to all.
It could be argued that proceedings are a little predictable. There’s probably nothing in the terms of the overall moral message that children won’t have encountered in other media. There is also a single moment of audience interaction which feels a bit token and doesn’t feel particularly representative of the rest of the play. However, the story is told ever so well and it is one of those rare shows that is intelligent enough to work for both parents and their children.
Both clever and caring, Ferdinand is a delight to watch.