Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Marionette Magic

Peter and the Wolf
By Sergei Prokofiev
Adapted by Sea Legs Puppet Theatre
Venue: The Berwyn Centre, Nantymoel
Date: 27th April 2011

Reviewed by Chelsey Gillard
Photographs by Rachel Williams

If you think the only thing kids are interested in these days is the latest 3D blockbuster or brain-cell-killing computer game, think again! Never have I seen a group of young (and not so young) people so willing to listen and interact with a performance as they were at “Peter and the Wolf”. Brilliantly staged as part puppet show and part live performance the whole audience could not help but be drawn in by master puppeteer Rob Ashman as he took us on a journey to wolf-infested Russia.    

The beautiful setting of the tale

Giving the traditional tale a slight twist, Old Man Prokofiev himself invites Rob to his cottage in Russia to hear how his grandson Peter outsmarted a very hungry wolf. Travelling by car, train and aeroplane, the travel montage is exceptional, we see various famous landmarks such as St. Petersburg before arriving at the house by the meadow, where all the action takes place. 

All the familiar characters are introduced by their musical themes; brave Peter; darting, witty Redbird; plodding, argumentative Duck; know-it-all Cat and of course the big, hungry Wolf with yellow bulging eyes! Each character is completely unique; Rob uses different puppetry styles and voices for each to give them their own personality that makes them completely believable.

Throughout it is laugh out loud, with humour that is appropriate for all the family, although there are moments of high drama such as when Duck gets snapped up in the Wolf’s razor sharp jaws. But do not fear, Duck is not lost, we later hear him quacking from the Wolf’s stomach because the hungry beast swallowed him down in one gulp.

After the show there was the chance to meet the characters!

Of course Peter eventually overcomes the Wolf and with the help of two blundering hunters he takes the ravenous beast to the zoo, avoiding any unnecessary violence that could disturb a younger audience.  

Expertly crafted to engage the imagination, the story and set was superb. The complex props were lovingly made and the whole production was far more advanced that your ordinary “Punch and Judy”. This is definitely entertainment for the 21st century.

Please visit:  for more pictures and information on their other shows that are suitable for theatres and other events.

Peter and the Wolf was brought to the Berwyn centre by Night Out, an organisation which aims to bring high quality theatre groups to local venues. For more info please visit