Review of CBSO's 'The Pied Piper' - Priority Five
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Review of CBSO’s ‘The Pied Piper’

Review of CBSO’s ‘The Pied Piper’

An adaption of the classic fairy tale set to music with audience participation.
 
I cannot tell you how excited I was to be invited watch the CBSO relaxed performance of the Pied Piper. Those of you with extremely good memories might remember the team of interns, myself included, going to see their adaptation of Revolting Rhymes last year. After the excitement and hilarity of that performance, there was no way that I would turn down a second opportunity to see the CBSO and One of a Kind Theatre in action!
 
I must admit, I felt a little undressed when the rest of the audience arrived. Pretty much everyone had a rat headdress or streamers (or both) – I hadn’t realised that there would be dress code. No matter, Richard Hayhow, our narrator, encouraged everyone to join in pretending to be the rats of Hamlyn.
Once all our actions had been organised and rehearsed we met our two main characters – the mayor of Hamlyn and the Pied Piper (portrayed by WiP’s very own Vicki Taylor). This was followed by a jazzy introduction of the musicians – percussion, double bass, cello, viola, violins, oboe, clarinet and trombone. I noticed that some of the musicians had costumes that mirrored those of the actors.
 
And then the performance began. We were introduced to the city of Hamlyn with a bit of classical music (Purcell or Britten, that is the question) which set the scene quite nicely. Richard drew us in Hamlyn’s world with some engaging narration. All seemed well until we rats took over! The poor mayor couldn’t come up with a solution to this infestation… until the Pied Piper offered her services. Of course, true to the fairy tale, the mayor agrees to a ridiculous sum of money in exchange for her help.
 
vicks
 
The careful matching of costumes really came into their own here. The Piper was represented musically by the oboe, and they both wore coats that were half-yellow and half-red, the patterns of which mirrored one another. This looked stunning when the two performers stood back to back on the stage as the rats met their demise (a group of audience members prepped before the show began).
Of course, this wasn’t the happy ending we would all hope for and the Piper didn’t receive her payment. At the mayor’s daring, she does her worst and kidnaps Hamlyn’s children (a second group of prepped participants). Thankfully we did get a happy ending this time and the children were returned once the Piper was paid what she was owed – and then some!
 
I felt that this was a really great performance for a number of reasons. The quality of music was exceptional, the actors were brilliant and the portrayal of characters with music proved to be both effective and humorous.
 
But what I felt really made this performance great was the interaction with the audience. Having everyone pretend to be rats or wave around streamers just added that extra depth to the show. The musicians weren’t afraid to come into the audience and it was brilliant to be able to see and hear them up close!
 
This was a simply amazing performance, and it was clear that everyone in the audience really enjoyed themselves. The relaxed nature of the performance made everyone very comfortable, so if you find you struggle with regular theatrical productions this is the show for you!

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