Tin Soldier, Festival Studio, Review

Show details
Birds of Paradise
Mike Kenny (Writer) Garry Robson (Director) Victor Nikonenko (Designer) Novasound (Original Composition) Grant Anderson (Lighting Designer) Lewis den Hertog (Animation Designer) Natalie MacDonald (Director of BSL translation) Iain Halket (Set and Prop Construction( Alison Monaghan (Puppet Maker)
Robert Softley Gale, Lauren Gilmour, Caroline Parker, Joseph Brown, Audrey Tait
Running time

Far from the bright lights of panto and glittering decorations of George Street, the magic of Christmas comes to life with Bird of Paradise's Tin Soldier.

This is the world premiere of Bird of Paradise's new production, adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's first children's story, 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier', by Mike Kenny. Teaming up with Lauren Gilmour and Audrey Tait to incorporate original live music, and puppets by award winning Victor Nikonenko, this production transports the audience into a world of very real make-believe, where the truth, love, and imagination of imperfect things will stay with you long afterwards.

Birds of Paradise will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year as a company who promote the talent and importance of disabled artists. Such work is vital, and could not be addressed in a better way than through telling this story.
A group of children who live together in 'The Place', all of them unique and outcast, come together every night to partaay! When they have danced themselves silly, they get out their book of stories and tell them together. Tonight; the story of 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier'. When the soldiers were all made (all 25 out of one spoon!) there wasn't enough metal left for the very last soldier. As a result, he only has one leg, but as the children say, just because you aren't very good at marching doesn't mean you can't be good at standing! Also in the toybox is a beautiful dancer who, when she dances, looks like she too has one leg. Love blossoms that will be tested to the limits by cruelty, distance and apathy. The tale holds up a mirror that could not be better portrayed by a group who have such a right to tell it.

Birds of Paradise are so wonderful, didactic, and creative, and the cast so beautifully in tune with one another, it is an amazing performance to watch. BSL plays a big part in the storytelling and makes their communication with each other and with the audience so natural and easy; one cast member only communicates through sign. Each character is wonderfully unique and complement each other, and there is a lesson to be heeded here that goes beyond the simple fairy tale; that individuality should be celebrated and embraced.

The original score is both fun and moving, the puppetry clever and endearing. Although the performance is aimed at 5-9 year olds it is a fantastic show for any age and leaves a warm and happy feeling inside, despite the Tin Soldiers end. It is the performer's love and enthusiasm that makes this as great as it is, and we should all contribute and learn from it.

7th-23rd December 7pm The Studio at Festival Theatre