Wal­liams tale comes to the Beck

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

HIS sto­ries are read by mil­lions of chil­dren across the world and now one of David Wal­liams’ cre­ations is com­ing to your doorstep as part of a world tour.

Get ready to blast off to the moon with Sheila the Hippo at the Beck Theatre, in Hayes.

It is one of more than 40 lo­ca­tions across the coun­try show­ing the stage adap­ta­tion of David Wal­liams’ The First Hippo on the Moon, which is cur­rently run­ning at the Hip­po­drome Theatre, in East­bourne.

The story is a space ad­ven­ture which fol­lows Sheila the Hippo as she com­petes with the in­cred­i­bly rich Her­cules Wal­dorf-Franklin III to become the first hippo to set foot on the moon.

“I have al­ways been fas­ci­nated with the space race of the 1960s and wanted to do a spoof on that.” says au­thor David Wal­liams.

“I like the idea of hip­pos go­ing to the moon as they are the an­i­mals least likely to.

“It’s a very vis­ual book, with amaz­ing il­lus­tra­tions by Tony Ross, so it should be a very colour­ful stage pro­duc­tion.”

The pro­duc­tion has been adapted for the stage by Les En­fants Ter­ri­bles and Les Petits artis­tic di­rec­tor Oliver Lans­ley, who has ex­pe­ri­ence with chil­dren’s theatre.

Artis­tic di­rec­tor Oliver Lans­ley says there was some­thing about the book which caught his eye: “A crack­ing, pompous fe­male hippo as our lead, a jun­gle full of an­i­mals and a race to the moon – it just seemed so full of op­por­tu­nity that we had to adapt it for the stage!”

The an­i­mals on stage are de­picted by pup­pets, de­signed by Nick Barnes and Finn Cal­well, just some of the minds be­hind the iconic War Horse pup­pets.

“The pup­pets are all voiced live on stage by the pup­peteers ma­nip­u­lat­ing them,” says pup­pet maker and di­rec­tor Mr Cal­well.

He adds: “Our cen­tral hippo (Sheila) wears a hippo suit and mask. All of the other char­ac­ters of var­i­ous sizes and shapes and are what you might call con­tact pup­pets, in that the per­form­ers are in di­rect con­nec­tion with them.”

Co­me­dian and au­thor Wal­liams be­gan his pub­lish­ing ca­reer in 2008 and has of­ten been com­pared to Roald Dahl and it is not hard to see why.

He has sold more than 9.5 mil­lion books in the UK and his work has been trans­lated into 45 dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

The chil­dren’s au­thor says he has many in­spi­ra­tions: “There are so many great writ­ers for chil­dren right now.”

“My per­sonal favourites right now are JK Rowl­ing, Ju­lia Don­ald­son, Dame Jac­que­line Wil­son and Michael Mor­purgo. As a young child I loved Richard Scarry and Dr Seuss.

“My ab­so­lute hero is Roald Dahl. He is the great­est chil­dren’s writer of all time as he wrote so many bril­liant books.”

If you are plan­ning to head along to the show, the num­ber one best­selling chil­dren’s au­thor has this mes­sage for fam­i­lies: “Who­ever you are you should dream big, just like Sheila the hippo.

“Plus, if you work to­gether as a team then you can achieve so much more.”

The play is show­ing at the Beck Theatre in Hayes on Satur­day Jan­uary 21 and Sun­day Jan­uary 22.

ADAP­TA­TION: David Wal­liams

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.