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Reviews for 'Puss in Boots' by DNA

Directed by Steve Tiplady

From the story by Charles Perrault

Devised by the cast - Original cast Adam Bennett and Miriam Grau Casas

Script development - Julie Brown

Set design and construction - Jonny Quick

 

If you're looking for a lo-fi panto this year, Dynamic New Animation's production of Puss in Boots is (a) surefire winner: a bumptious romp through the fable in the company of a wisecracking puss, his thick master, a medically obsessed princess and a musical band of dead mice. The brilliant Preston-based DNA cleverly employ puppetry techniques, shadow box animation and good old-fashioned song and dance to weave their tale.

An ingeniously reamshackle set keeps the children guessing. The performers - all two of them - keep up a riotous pace, deftly changing costumes and voices to keep a full cast of characters in play. Recent UCLAN acting graduate Miriam Grau Casas and Adam Bennett (whose past solo productions include Chicken Licken and The Enormous Turnip) make an excellent team. Director Steve Tiplady's previous work includes directing the puppetry in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Venus and Adonis and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

This is definitely not your typical pantomime, though there are men wearing dresses and shouts of 'It's behind you!'. All the traditions are present, then, but with a more homespun sweetness that will appeal to anyone weary of the high-bombast glitz of Christmas. Family entertainment doesn't get much better than this.

Kate Feld - Manchester Metro 11 December 2006

 


This performance by Dynamic New Animation and directed by Steve Tiplady, is a retelling of the familiar Henri Perrault fairytale. In DNA's show the set is a centrally placed multi-use wooden contraption which reads as part barrow, part carriage, part traditional puppet show stage (with dazzling live performances from the Mouse Band) and, of course, dressing up-area. The contraption pays homage to the handmade world of (and the many contraptions historically used in) theatre and especially puppetry.
It is this unusual and clever stage management which is the foundation for much of the performance's plot, beginning with Charlie and Juanita who are auctioning off their stage props because they have given up storytelling as 'there's no money in it' and 'are going back to Spain'. But some props seem to have a story to tell, like the princess's dress, the thick book of fairy tales, and the cat which, after digesting a mouse running through the old fairytale book, begins to narrate.
With an improvisational use of props, as in waving a little model of a windmill at the mention of the mill where the miller's son was born, and showing pictures of a horse and carriage when the king and his daughter are on their journey, DNA create a fast-paced and witty humour, both visual and verbal, which is delightful to adults and children. The story of Puss In Boots is so well known that the audience's pleasure came in seeing how the two people who constitute DNA would present it, how the lake in which the miller's son drowns is made of cheap blue hessian ground sheet, how the princess is a doctor, having studied with the Order of St John's Ambulance, how the miller's son would become so hungry he would try to eat his socks, how the ogre would assume many her many forms with a minimal set.
It is hard to temper one's enthusiasm for a performance like this, which was so funny, camp and imaginative, and had so much appeal for all ages. And this is the secret: at the beginning of theatre season, look for this theatre company, and this director, and book.. A performance like this is worth more than any big lavish blockbuster performance. This is a must-see-show. And afterwards, it will be "we must see all their shows."

Thelma Mort localsecrets.com

The Junction Saturday 2nd December 2006

All text and images © Dynamic New Animation 2002