Harry Henderson reviews Peter and the Wolf at Assembly, Edinburgh
Peter is visiting his Granddad who lives in the woods and, whereas Granddad fears all the animals that lurk behind the trees, Peter is eager to explore all that nature holds. Goblin Theatre have taken the essence of the Peter and the Wolf story and given it a modern reworking, injecting it with lively music, catchy songs and just the right amount of audience participation.
The show begins with Peter on his own. He has been given clear instructions by his Granddad not to leave the camp – it is too dangerous. To entertain himself he starts to create some music; tapping, scraping and shaking all the objects he can find in the campsite and building a track on a loop pedal. The children in the audience loved seeing this piece of music being developed and layered, and this is what Goblin theatre do best – sharing the creative process with the children, even getting them to add to a soundscape of the forest when Peter eventually breaks his Granddad’s rules and goes to explore the woods.
Playing Grandad and the Wolf, Ajjaz Awad imbues them both with energy and charm, but it’s the Wolf who is given a modern twist- he’s not a big bad scary wolf, but a green serene wolf who just happens to be a greatly misunderstood vegan. Don’t be worried, this isn’t some sort of preachy children’s show, it’s all very tonuge-in-cheek, with the Wolf delivering a vegetable rap listing all his favourite foods – specifically, sweet potatoes.
With Awad handling the menagerie of beautiful puppets, Lewys Taylor is in control of all the music- an impressive feat considering all the different sounds, tracks and tempos he has to manipulate whilst also playing Peter. Considering this is only a two-hander it feels like a whole company of actors is taking to the stage. And then, to top it all off, there are the subtly placed references to modern politics with Granddad and his wall, and to bigger ideas such as environmentalism which result in this production not only being a thorough enjoyable family show but something which is equally to entertaining to the adults as well as the children.
If you’re at the Fringe as a family then there could be no better way to begin your day than by seeing Goblin Theatre’s Peter and the Wolf.