Thursday, 3 December 2015

'The Night That Autumn Turned To Winter'

Photo: Jack Offord
There’s something for everyone at Bristol Old Vic this Christmas, and while Sleeping Beauty works its magic in the main theatre upstairs, The Night That Autumn Turned To Winter has transported the downstairs Studio into a magical woodland world for younger theatre goers.

Produced by the reliably consistent Little Bulb Theatre Company, The Night That Autumn Turned To Winter takes us into the woods for the very final day of autumn as the animals prepare for the coming of winter and, squee, the much-heralded winter unicorn (no press pictures were available of this magical being, presumably because such a special creature cannot be captured by even the best of photographer’s lenses).

Dressed a little like Brownies, our three narrators are wardens of the woods: fairy creatures who keep an eye on the woodland happenings and make sure all the animals play nicely. There will be no fighting here (take note, fox and badger).

Photo: Jack Offord

In a softly woven woodland made of a thick carpet, fabric trees and archways, and wooden tree stumps, our cast (Clare Beresford, Dominic Conway and Miriam Gould) take on the roles of all the creatures, from rabbits who need to sing opera to earn their carrots, to a fox who cleverly disguises himself as a jazz musician (remember, you can never trust a fox so don’t give him your purse).

With plenty of songs, it’s fun to see them all ended with a rock’n’roll-esque jump by the trio. And the audience participation is all very gentle and inclusive - well done to the school teacher who was coaxed on stage to help with one bit of the play!

The hedgehogs are adorable, the fox costume clever, but the spider truly terrifying! Clearly the idea is to encourage children not to be scared of these eight-legged creatures… but alas it was too late for this writer, who has spent almost 40 years quaking at the sight of a hairy arachnid: so to be rather close to a human-sized spider and all of its eyes was absolutely terrifying. I’d like a badge for bravery please!

The Night That Autumn Turned To Winter is performed until January 10 with performances at a range of times. For more information and to book tickets, please click here.

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