The numerous performers navigate some complicated blocking and multiple costume changes very well, as well as some lines (some using rhyming) that are tricky to deliver.
The set, as I expected from the title of the play, has elements of newsprint: a streetlamp, a landscape, a building and some newspaper-covered boxes and rostra that provide different levels for performance. Into this space appears a lively ensemble of 11- and 12-year-old boys. They wear a uniform of tweed and orange. Touches of panto-style makeup, including brightly painted eyes, signify that they are not from our world. As we soon discover, they are not boys at all, but foxes from an alternate world known as “the News World.”
Soon, in the “real” world - the town of Wallsbury to be precise - we meet another cohort of boys. This time they are the local paper delivery boys who wear school uniforms and carry bright orange satchels. They gather to share a story: one of them, Kyle, revered among the boys for his ingenuity in designing his own paper delivery route, has mysteriously vanished. Their sources say that Kyle, after climbing high to see the world and still curious to see what he could see, had climbed into his own newspaper satchel and mysteriously disappeared.
Here his friends decide to set off on a quest to bring Kyle home and their adventure in the News World ensues (including a song and dance number).
While there are times where lines are lost, I was nonetheless impressed with the verve of this young cast. The numerous performers navigate some complicated blocking and multiple costume changes very well, as well as some lines (some using rhyming) that are tricky to deliver.
For a script intended to be performed by a young cast, some of the writing is too ambitious and I got the impression in a couple of places that the actors didn’t quite understand the lines they were delivering. This satire on the rise and fall of newspapers didn’t come across as clearly as it could have. Running at seventy minutes, it felt slightly too long; the ending could be sharpened.
Rather than a history of newspapers – and newspaper delivery boys – that might be expected, this is instead a fun adventure story that will appeal to those aged 8 and up.