Andrew Dawson & John Gore Productions, A Grand Night Out

Review in Issue 9-3 | Autumn 1997

Wallace and Gromit take to the stage in this play featuring the favourites from Aardman Animation’s three films – Shaun The Sheep, the Techno-Trousers, the Evil Penguin and of course the ever attendant Gromit, Wallace and Wendolene. The audience, eager to identify with the well known characters, cheer, boo and sigh. Andy Dawson (ex-MTP), wrote and directed the show with the blessing of Aardman Animations and the weight of John Gore Productions, and they have no doubt created a hit.

‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ is melodramatically played out in Wallace’s most recent invention, a theatre caravan – a splendid feat of stage design from Tom Piper. By feeding a book in at one end, a ready-made stage adaptation appears at the other. But the penguin appears hard on the trail. Out to steal the Mayor of Crawley’s civic chain he is ready to sabotage the play, the machine and do our loveable characters in.

Paul Filipiak, Russ Edwards, Mark Otto Hollander, Joyce Henderson and Angela Clerkin make a good ensemble and turn in fine physically-observed performances. The characters talk to the audience directly ‘front of curtain style’. And they don’t fall into the danger of caricature – they are blessed with already finely observed caricatures to play. The company try to faithfully recreate and stage the pace and detail of the original animations – not an easy task. The audience are eager to have a grand night out in the company of familiar friends. They are not disappointed.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jul 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-3
p. 25