Wanted Dead or Alive – Ameera Juta (Aunty Joan), Desle McConney (Percy), Dean Van Der Ventel (Peter) and Kirsten Murphy Rossiter (Patrick)

THREE LITTLE PIGS. Adapted and directed by Elton John Duffy. Presented by The Lilliput Children’s Theatre Company. At Nassau Theatre, Groote Schuur High School, at 10.30am until 22 July.

SHEILA CHISHOLM reviews

As with most children’s stories, a moral lies behind the Three Little Pigs adventures. Here it is, “don’t rush into a major project without careful thinking.” In this case, Peter Pig (Dean van der Ventel), Patrick Pig (Kirsten Murphy Rossiter) and Percy Pig (Desle McConney) wanted to leave Aunty Joan’s home (Ameera Juta) and build their own house.

Patrick thought a stick house would be suitable for him. Percy thought a straw house would be fine for him. But Peter decided he needed plans to properly design his brick house – it had to withstand the elements. Each built their own house and all went well until Big Bad Wolf (BBW – Elton John Duffy) arrived. Hungry for slices of tasty bacon he quickly blew down both Patrick and Percy’s unsound structures – but they escaped to Peter’s house. Poor BBW. No amount of huffing and puffing could destroy Peter’s strong house. He had thought his project through.

Delivered their words perfectly

Lilliput Children’s Theatre has been presenting children’s shows for 24 years. Which is perhaps why I felt this production was “slapped” together. Not that the three piggies didn’t prance around with energy, or not deliver their words perfectly. They did. In their blue, red and yellow dungarees, checked shirts, coloured scarves and “piggy tummies” they interacted reasonably well with the audience. Perkiest of the litter was Van der Ventel. Although he, like the others, spoke rather quickly, his voice carried and every word was heard.

The same couldn’t be said for Juta. Not only didn’t she project her voice, she talked “down” to the kiddies. So too did Duffy. He also spoke so fast it gave the impression he “wanted to get home in a hurry.”

Presenting children’s theatre carries grave responsibilities. It’s in their early years that they decide to love or hate theatre. Watching this rather uninspired production, it seemed Duffy had given little attention to “thinking through” what details would bring a child a memorable theatrical experience. Maybe the time has come for Duffy to re-examine his storytelling technique to find ways to really enrich young people’s theatrical experience.

What: Three Little Pigs (school holidays)
Who: The Lilliput Children’s Theatre Company
Where: Nassau Theatre, Groote Schuur High School
When: Until 22 July, at 10.30am
Book: www.computicket.co.za
Info: www.lilliputplayers.co.za or 083 364 8484
WS