Scotland’s version of Peter and the Wolf is an enchanting tale with a lot of heart. The show is based on an original Scots storybook by James Robertson, set to a score by James Ross, and played on traditional instruments. The adventures of a boy named Neil who lives with his Granny in ‘a wee white hoose, aw on its ain beside the sea’ is brought to life in a combination of music, animation and narration.
Gerda Stevenson narrates with engaging charisma. She has the enthusiasm and emphasis necessary to keep the pace up, without sounding too condescending or irritating. The musical accompaniment is what gave the performance its heart as each musician, and instrument, took on the role of a character. The use of traditional music gave the story a pleasant folksy and genuine feel. The interweaving of narrative and musical storytelling worked beautifully, although at times some of the levels are uncomfortably loud.
Jojo Norris’ illustrations have a delightful quality, and create a visual reference for the world. The colour palette is restricted to soft greys and blues, and tawny and fiery oranges, creating a beautiful but occasionally inhospitable landscape, on which perched the cosy wee hoose. John McGeoch of Arts in Motion has brought these beautiful visuals to life, and his simple animation works in synchronicity with the music to keep the energy up.
The kids in the audience were quietly appreciative. There is not really much in the way of humour to appeal to them as part of the story, so the greatest involvement from the child audience came at the end when they were invited onstage to dance along to songs from the story.This is a charming storytelling, and a sweet - if somewhat earnest - display of Scot traditions. It will please children, and the right kind of adults will delight in it also.