The Snail and the Whale at The Rose Theatre, Kingston - review

PUBLISHED: 15:25 17 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:40 18 September 2013

The Snail and the Whale

The Snail and the Whale

Archant

The picture books of Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler have delighted young children across the world with their lyrical rhymes and engaging themes. Now, this clever theatrical adaptation of The Snail and the Whale by Tall Stories brings a new perspective to the already emotionally charged story that will appeal to adults and children alike.

Presented as a favourite bedtime story told by a father who is often away from his beloved little girl with his job in the Navy, the action switches from rhyming narrative to flashbacks and dramatic reconstructions of the tale with plenty of clever puppetry, music and song along the way.

The tale is introduced and watched with affection by Ellen Chivers - the grown-up narrator who invites us to join her in remembering her father’s antics as he played with her childhood self. She adds greatly to the mood with evocative viola music from composer, Richard Heacock, and the play’s poignant ending where she recalls her father’s lifelong loyalty and steadfast love.

Patrick Bridgman is the father, reluctant to leave his young daughter behind to go to sea, and determined to make their last storytelling session the best ever. Bridgman is utterly compelling in the role, particularly when he relates part of the story onboard his naval ship, about the whale swimming into danger and needing rescuing by the snail. He is seen recording his words for his little girl to listen to on CD back home. Relating the tale, the father begins to feel as lost as the giant whale whose adventures he is describing and relies more and more on his daughter’s love as she waits for him back home.

As the playful young daughter, Rhiannon Wallace portrays just the right mixture of vulnerability and spirit as she longs to join her father on his trips around the world. She gleefully laps up every detail of the story, identifying herself with the tiny snail who travels on the whale’s back as he swims off to seek adventure. In the story, the snail saves the whale’s life with courage and quick initiative. Equally, the little girls’ devotion and courage in the face of being parted from her father saves him from becoming too lonely, and sustains their close relationship right into adulthood.

The play contains enough depth of emotion to keep grown-ups engaged, while its lively pace and clever use of designer, Isla Shaw’s props and scenery ensure that young children are enthralled. The Snail and the Whale is enjoyable and thought-provoking, and will stay with its audiences for a long time to come.

• The Snail and the Whale is touring nationally throughout autumn and winter. Find out where and book tickets at tallstories.org.uk/shows/the-snail-and-the-whale.

More from Surrey Life

16:16

At Sir William Perkins’s School (SWPS) the aim is to build confidence, integrity and excellence in a caring, innovative and happy community so that each student leaves with the best possible chance of achieving her full potential and ready to take on the world.

Read more
11:43

If the colder weather is making you feel like escaping to somewhere snug and cosy, you might be surprised to find some perfect rural retreats right on your doorstep. Here’s our pick of the best to discover in Surrey…

Read more
11:33

Get ready to laugh, boo and hiss, and cheer on your favourite childhood heroes in the array of pantomimes coming to Surrey theatres this Christmas

Read more
11:01

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Yesterday, 16:01

Actress, singer and entertainer, Anita Harris has travelled the world in an illustrious career that spans over five decades. From her home in Chertsey, she talks to Tinx Newton about the people she has worked with, her tour and life in Surrey

Read more
Yesterday, 14:13

If there's ever a time of year when a brisk, bracing walk is needed, then winter and the lead-up to the festive season is surely it. Here we round up a few of our Surrey favourites

Read more
Yesterday, 13:01

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (14, 15 and 16 December): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Surrey is a county full of festive delights. Think cosy pubs, frosty views and long winter walks. We pick 22 wonderful reasons to spend Christmas in Surrey.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Surrey this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With beautiful countryside, stunning villages and plenty of bluebells during spring, Surrey is an amazing place for a stroll

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pupils at The Hawthorns School in Bletchingley collected over 5,800 items of food for the Loveworks foodbanks in Reigate and Merstham

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

We’ve teamed up with Grand Illusions to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win a £250 gift card with the stylish homeware brand

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Celebrating its 25 anniversary, Kinghams restaurant is found at the heart of one of Surrey’s most iconic villages. Matthew Williams visits to discover the secrets of its longevity

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search