Puppetry and music brings classic story alive
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).
Re-telling Andy Cannon and Andy Manley will recreate Black Beauty