Sunday, 24 March 2013

1927: The Animals and Children Took to the Streets

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from The Old Market Theatre in Brighton, in which was a short article about the 1927 production of The Animals and Children Took to the Streets. I have only recently heard about this company and their dark production that integrated animation projected on stage. I read that they had sell-out shows around the world and hoped I would be able to see them someday. Then this email was advertising their show in Brighton and advising we get in quick before they sold out, so I quickly bought a pair and went to the theatre that Friday.

It was pouring it down with icy rain and despite leaving on time, we still managed to be late and were stuck with seats behind people with large heads that blocked my view, but I was not disappointed. It was an amazing show. So convincing was the acting that my guest did not realise that the person playing the male caretaker was in fact a woman.

The stage was bare but for three white screens on which the animations were projected. These animations were simple and dark, beautifully transporting me to the dreary dank world that the dubious characters inhabited. The movements of the animated characters were limited, not unlike the Flintstones cartoons and other animations from that era where animations were made more economical and less complicated. This only added to the charm and surreal feeling of the whole show.

The actors faces were painted white, much like mimes. This made it easy for them to become new characters at a moment's notice and helped to make their world seem darker and sinister, where everyone's faces lack colour and life.  

My favourite character has to be the caretaker (played by a woman) who falls for the ever optimistic Agnes Eves. His is the only character who does not speak on stage, but instead has a voice-over to let the audience into his gloomy thoughts. He spends his life sweeping the dusty floors and spraying at bugs - all achieved with the seamless animation creating the dust clouds and jets of bug spray.

It really is a must-see show. Does it have a happy ending? Well, I suggest you go and see for yourself! 

(all pictures are from Google Images!)

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