APR 00] BELGRADE THEATRE REVIEW
This production at the Belgrade Theatre is certainly more scary and
realistic than any other versions of the dogs' tale.
auditorium at the Belgrade Theatre has been transformed to house this
innovative production of the classic book by Dodie Smith.
interior design has echoes of 'Starlight Express', with
effectively-interlaced scaffolding, adjustable ramps and a fantastic
bridge spanning the audience. At the outset, we are given a
tongue-in-cheek assurance that no animals are harmed during the
performance; for indeed, all non-humans are played by actors, with
The Dalmatian puppies are particularly convincing, due to the
high-spirited, canine abandon brought to the roles by a large cast of
young actors. The effect is enhanced by the dog-like movements which
are brought about by the clever use of crutches in the costumes.
The parents, Pongo
(James Talbot) and Missus (Isabel Ford) find no difficulty in
communicating their intentions through a judicious mix of woofs and
broken English. Carran Waterfield plays a camp Cruella, more akin to
Norma Desmond in 'Sunset Boulevard' than to the character we know from
Disney and the 1996 film.
characters play low-key roles, allowing themselves to be outshone by
the animals; including Cat & Cat (Daniela Essart) and Sheep Dog (Soren
production is a fascinating melange of physical theatre and
black-and-white film. The skill with which the two media are combined
can be judged from the tension as the excited audience are swept along
with the escaping Dalmatians.
involvement and much fun for the audience as the chases surge through
them; and you might find an umbrella useful in the second half! It
certainly knocks the spots off the bland versions of the past. A
thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Until 6 May 2000. Running time: 2 hours.
Tue – Sat 7pm
Tues, Wed & Sat 2pm
Ticket Prices: £5
BY HELEN COTTERILL - 14 APRIL 2000