Theatrical magic lifts heavyweight themes
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.