The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
|Date||17th November 2016|
|Society||Leeds Childrens Theatre|
|Type of Production||Play|
|Director||Jane Curtin and Alex Plygawko|
Author: Christine Castle
The untimely death of Terry Pratchett, one of our best-loved writers, has made us all realise what a tremendous loss his passing made in literary circles and beyond. I admire LCT for choosing one of his children's stories, now adapted for the stage, for their autumn production, as this is a hefty play by any stretch of the imagination, especially for younger members.
I am pleased to say that the whole cast in this production gave it one hundred per cent commitment. The Directors, Jane Curtin and Alex Plygawko, had worked hard on their cast to bring the story of Maurice, an amazing talking cat and his friendly, educated (and also talkative!) rodents to life. Within the piece, one message shone through - never ignore the less well-liked members of your community (in this case, rats) as they are cleverer than you think! For the adult audience members, there were many clever references to modern political life making us nod sagely. The young people in this production were all extremely talented - they acted well and their diction was, as always, of the highest calibre. I was particularly impressed with the costumes, especially the 'rat' headgear - the costume department, in the tender care of Mavis Heaton, must have worked hard to make very convincing costumes for all the company. The set was very interesting in design (in the care of Dan Dainter) and gave the cast plenty of scope for moving around. Set changes were performed very quickly - maybe a little too much use of blackouts, which can disjoint the smoothness of the play, but this is a personal comment. The main character of the play, Maurice, was played with confidence and worldliness - his rat buddies had the most wonderful character names - for example, Hamnpork, Sardines, Donut Enter, to name but a few and each actor lived up to his or her name with total conviction. Although this play is rather wordy not one of the actors forgot their lines, which is a good thing, as I was told LCT do not have a prompt! Marvellous training if they wish to go forward to a professional career.
The LCT celebrated 80 years in existence this year and have seen many of their youngsters become well-known actors - long may they continue in their excellent work and my congratulations to them all!