The­atri­cal magic lifts heavy­weight themes

The Tribune (NZ) - - THEATRE -

The Book of Ev­ery­thing Adapted by Richard Tul­loch from the novel by Guus Kui­jer Di­rected by Sophie Roberts for Silo Theatre Re­gent on Broad­way, Palmer­ston North, March 8 – 9 Re­viewed by Richard Mays

This is an en­chant­ing and com­pelling pro­duc­tion. It’s hinged pop-open, light-box, chalk-board set; its quirky pup­petry, on­stage fo­ley artistry, pe­riod cos­tumes and clever ac­knowl­edge­ment of and en­gage­ment with the au­di­ence, make for a mem­o­rable and mag­i­cal piece of theatre.

The Book of Ev­ery­thing is the 1951 di­ary of Thomas Klop­per, an imag­i­na­tive and dreamy child brought up in a se­verely religious house­hold presided over by a rigid bi­ble-and-mother-bash­ing father.

Pa­trick Car­roll’s piv­otal pre­sen­ta­tion may fall slightly into the stereo­type of older ac­tor play­ing a child, but is no less ef­fec­tive in con­vey­ing the young­ster’s vivid rec­ol­lec­tions and the in­ter­ac­tions with his fam­ily.

En­ter­tain­ing it is, not­with­stand­ing the play’s heav­ier un­der­ly­ing and to­tally con­tem­po­rary themes, and the por­tray­als from a top-shelf cast that in­cludes Rima Te Wi­ata, Jen­nifer Ward-Lealand, Amanda Billing, Stephen Lo­vatt and Dan Mus­grove, are sen­si­tive and de­fined, .

Adapt­ing well to the de­mands of the large Re­gent on Broad­way stage, the ac­tors were able to cap­ti­vate their au­di­ence as well as max­imise the im­pact of the piece.

With its fo­cus de­cry­ing vi­o­lence to­wards women, it was en­tirely apt that the open­ing night of this pro­duc­tion in Palmer­ston North cor­re­sponded with In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day.


Rima Te Wi­ata as Mrs van Amers­foort with Pa­trick Car­roll as Thomas in a scene from The Book of Ev­ery­thing.

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