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Harleston Players review

PUBLISHED: 18:38 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 12 July 2010

Review

Gulliver's Adventures in Lilliput

Harleston Players

The Players set themselves a challenge in depicting a 70ft giant washed up on a beach but this was achieved by film projection, sound effects and the ingenious creation of the giant's props.

Review

Gulliver's Adventures in Lilliput

Harleston Players

The Players set themselves a challenge in depicting a 70ft giant washed up on a beach but this was achieved by film projection, sound effects and the ingenious creation of the giant's props.

This original version of Jonathan Swift's fantasy tale was written by Alan Huckle and David Black of EYESWRITE, a local group of writers who are rapidly making a name for themselves in the area. It is not generally realised that the story developed from the political events of the early 18th century involving Walpole and his Whig administration.

The stage adaptation sees Gulliver, leaving his wife to run the Black Bull tavern to go to sea as a ship's surgeon. The ship is wrecked and he is washed up on the island of Lilliput, populated by people only 6in tall who are at war with residents of a nearby island. Gulliver refused to attack and sink their fleet and becomes a friend of the Lilliputians. The action hots up when the Lord High Treasurer and Admiral attempt to bring Gulliver to trial for high treason until the Emperor intervenes. Peace is eventually restored and Gulliver returns to his family at the inn.

Although some may have missed the traditional pantomime, the Players should be congratulated on trying something completely different which should appeal to all ages. After a slightly slow start and a few missed cues the cast, directed by David Cummins, soon got into its stride. The crowd scenes were particularly effective with the luxury of both an adult and children's chorus, enhanced by the accompaniment of a small band, with catchy tunes arranged by Stella Brownsea.

Outstanding performances came from Dawn Symonds as the pompous Lord High Treasurer, supported by Fiona Smith as the Admiral, while Peter Hood hammed it up as the over-the-top Emperor. The title role was taken by Steven Buckle and Alice Carruthers made an attractive princess. The make up department had gone to town on Valerie May and Keshar Whitelock as the comedy duo, Leif and Petal, and pick of the youngsters was Jake Van de Berg as Boy. Costumes were excellent as were sound and lighting effects.

The production continues this weekend at the Archbishop Sancroft High School.

Janet Chambers

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