a fun hour, complete with enjoyably creative stagecraft, an entertaining and often heartfelt script, live music and an intimate, engaging atmosphere.
The minimal set of three colourful wooden chairs and a blackboard doubling as a coat-stand turns the auditorium into a makeshift classroom. As the audience become pupils, they’re led by a five-strong ensemble cast through a lesson about Angela Brazil.
It is far better than school though, as the play is in no way boring. Each of the characters from Brazil’s life and works are brought energetically and vividly to life by some superb multi-roling in scenes depicting her life and extracts from her books which parallel it. It’s such a speedy presentation, however, that there isn’t enough time to get a feel for the people involved; you know exactly when and where everything in her life happened, but not completely what it felt like to live as or with Brazil. The hints and suggestions of the unknown aspects of her life, coupled with the ‘gung-ho spiffing’ type of characterisation throughout also leaves you wondering quite how historically accurate – if possible – the show is. The suspicion is that the play is as rose-tinted a depiction of Brazil’s life as her books are of children’s experience.
Nevertheless, it is a fun hour, complete with enjoyably creative stagecraft, an entertaining and often heartfelt script, live music and an intimate, engaging atmosphere.
Whether your interest is in original, imaginative theatre, forgotten women from history, children’s literature, or you just want a diverting hour of an engaging play, this is a show definitely worth seeing.