Walk the Plank / Kaboodle Productions, Moby Dick

Review in Issue 13-3 | Autumn 2001

The nautical experience begins as soon as you board the Fitzcarraldo. The theatre is in the hold. Overhead an awning is stretched between the bulkheads, canvas that flaps in the wind. There is that evocative smell of diesel and brine and beneath us the reassuring hum of the engine. The planks of the small stage fit between the bulkheads, like the lower deck of a whaling ship, and from this platform the four storytellers play out their incredible roles. These are the crew of the Pequod and this is Ishmael’s story, played with sensitivity by John Langford. He interacts directly with the audience, hauling us on board where we witness his initiation into the tough world of the harpooners.

A colourful crew from all the seven seas includes Queequeg, a South Sea cannibal in a smokestack hat, played with mercurial energy by Nicholas Chee Ping Kellington, whose moonstone eyes twinkle as he grins, and then burn with fire as he hunts the whale. Madeleine Bowyer plays Pip, the cabin boy, with haunting conviction as she swings from the rigging like an angel hovering over the waves. One of the treasures of this production is the scene in which she plays the French cook and sings a song to the sharks imploring them to moderate their appetite. Max Rubin plays the vengeful Ahab with a sombre malevolence. Uncompromising performances, delivering Jim Burke’s relentless poetry with energy and commitment. Lee Beagley has harnessed the theatrical elements to transform Melville’s vast saga into a tightly choreographed production. A gripping narrative in the best tradition of storytelling, told with good humour and humanity.

Presenting Artists
Site

Salford Docks

Date Seen
  1. May 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-3
p. 24