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Theatre Review: Sleeping Trees’ The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington

Theatre Review: Sleeping Trees’ The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington

Bringing the madcap magic of panto from their living room to yours, Sleeping Trees present a brand new Christmas story full of mixed up characters and events where anything can happen. Mayor of London Dick Whittington must track down the white whale Moby Dick in order to save Santa and he’ll do so despite the scheming of King Rat. There’s a raft of fairy-tale cameos and buckets of enthusiasm from the cast of three as they sing, dance and prompt audience interaction down the lens.

Filming a festive offering allows for smart editing which means James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith and John Woodburn can play absolutely everybody. This minimal cast is particularly innovative in crowd scenes where variety is the spice of life, although less effective when a female character is required. The fast paced plot and family friendly humour keep things on an even keel. The power of the bells adds a fun surrealist touch that is slightly undermined by a mundane explanation. Bursts of sharp wit are unleashed as the crew dive into the weird world of marine biology and things reach their silliest when viewers are encouraged to build and wreck their own ship dens at home.

Using every room in the house and a mish mash of homemade effects adds to the jolly, friendly vibe. Director Kerry Frampton and co-writer Ben Hales chuck in the kitchen sink, adding captions and breaking the fourth wall to get spectators playing along. The relentless comic energy of John, James and Josh make this a rather random adventure to enjoy from the comfort of your boat or sofa.


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