Pup­petry and music brings clas­sic story alive

Stirling Observer - - THETICKET -

A clas­sic tale is set to be mag­i­cally re­mas­tered in Stir­ling this week­end.

Black Beauty will be per­formed by Red Bridge Arts and the Tra­verse The­atre Com­pany at the Macrobert on Satur­day (Fe­bru­ary 18).

Blend­ing sto­ry­telling, music and pup­petry, this vi­brant re-telling of Black Beauty of­fers fun and ad­ven­ture for fans of the book, clas­sic TV show and those brand new to the tale, and is sure to warm your heart. Per­formed by Andy Man­ley and Andy Can­non, with de­sign by Shona Reppe, the show was a huge hit with fam­i­lies of all ages dur­ing its Christ­mas run in Ed­in­burgh.

Speak­ing to the Ob­server, Andy Can­non said that the idea of re-cre­at­ing the dra­matic story had been some­thing that the artists had been con­sid­er­ing for sev­eral years.

“It has been an idea for quite a wee while,” he said. “Andy Man­ley was the one who first sug­gested Black Beauty. I have done other clas­sic sto­ries such as King Arthur and Trea­sure Is­land.

“We have never worked to­gether be­fore. We have known each other for 20 years, and al­ways been fans of each other’s work.

“We have, how­ever, both worked with Shona Reppe a lot and it was nice for the three of us to come to­gether on a great story.”

Af­ter be­ing per­formed in Ed­in­burgh, the com­pany are now on a Scot­tish tour and are look­ing for­ward to com­ing to Stir­ling.

Andy said: “I have been to the Macrobert many times be­fore. It is a venue that is a favourite for all of us.

“We are two weeks into the tour. We are up in In­ver­ness this week, and then move on to Glas­gow and Stir­ling af­ter.

“The au­di­ences have been re­ally en­joy­ing it. What has been re­ally good fun is that the au­di­ences have been of such a wide age range.

“There re­ally is some­thing for ev­ery­body in the show. There are things in it that we all share – the laughs and the sor­row – that every­one feels at the same time.”

Anna Sewell’s clas­sic story is nar­rated in the first per­son as an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal mem­oir told by the horse named Black Beauty — be­gin­ning with his care­free days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his dif­fi­cult life pulling cabs in Lon­don, to his happy re­tire­ment in the coun­try.

“Horses live very episodic lives,” said Andy. “They’re the only pet that peo­ple sell. If you have a dog or a cat, you tend to have it all its life, but horses tend to move from owner to owner. Par­tic­u­larly at the time when Black Beauty was writ­ten, in the 19th cen­tury hav­ing a horse was just like how hav­ing a car is now.”

And he said that peo­ple of all ages can still en­joy the drama of the tra­di­tional story.

“The thing about the clas­sic tales that are still with us is that the rea­son they are still read is that they are universal sto­ries. That is why we still en­joy Black Beauty or Trea­sure Is­land.

“They could be sto­ries about yes­ter­day, and have themes of friend­ship and kind­ness.”

There are per­for­mances of Black Beauty at 2.30pm and 6pm on Satur­day (Feb 18).

Photo: Mi­haela Bodlovic

Re-telling Andy Can­non and Andy Man­ley will recre­ate Black Beauty

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