FESTIVE family shows can come in all sorts of styles, but they really have only one essential – to entertain young audiences.
And on that basis, the 2017/188 collaboration between Bumblefly and Forest Forge is a resounding triumph.
Its first matinee, in a packed Greyfriars in Ringwood, had the tinies on cushions in the front whooping with delight, joining in and thoroughly enjoying the story of the Frog Prince, interwoven with other fairytales that made it all the more interesting and memorable.
The regular company of three – Dom Phillips, Clive Holland and Anna Harriott – unfolded the story of the arrogant young princess, her penurious father, the nasty prince he chose for her to marry and the frog who dived into the pond to rescue the princess’s favourite toy. It has a bit of Sleeping Beauty, a touch of Red Riding Hood, a soupcon of Cinderella, a dash of Snow White and an obscure Australian tale of a frog who drank all the water in the world. It’s all about not judging things or people by the way they look.
These are tales whose moral is timeless, and in the hands of the Bumblefly company are funny, inventive, colourful and musical.
There’s enough physical humour and action to keep the attention of the very young, and skillful and spontaneous storytelling for the slightly older. David Haworth’s script and design are purpose-built both for the company and for the rigours of touring to different halls and venues.
Bumblefly was formed three years ago by Dom Phillips, the man who for 12 years took the Forest Forge shows out on the road as the all-purpose technical manager.
We didn’t know he had a degree in Performance Studies, or that he was learning the trade by observation, so when he transmogrified into a singing, dancing, clowning, storytelling actor, it was a happy surprise.
Now he and his Bumblefies have settled into a delightful and warm ensemble that can dig out tales and tell them with excitement and love.
You won’t see a better example of a touring family show this holiday.
See the show in December:
Friday 8th at 6.30pm at Wilton Community Centre,
Saturday 9th at 7pm at Droxford Village Hall,
Wednesday 13th at 6pm at Ampfield VH,
Thursday 14th December at 2.30 and 7.30 at Forest Arts in New Milton,
Friday 15th and Saturday 16th at 6.30 at Broadchalke VH,
Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th at 6.30 at Moors Valley Country Park,
Thursday 21st at 7.30 at Ibsley VH,
Friday 22nd at 2.30 at Alderholt VH
Saturday 23rd at 1.30 at King Edwards Hall in West Tytherley.
Or in January:
Tuesday 2nd at 3 and 7pm at Pennington WI Hall,
Thursday 4th at 6.30 at Gussage All Saints VH,
Friday 5th at 7pm at the Victoria Rooms in Fordingbridge,
Saturday 6th at 7pm at Awbridge VH,
Friday 12th at 7.30 at Michelmersh and Timsbury VH,
Saturday 13th at 7.30 at Wallington VH,
Sunday 14th at 2pm at Hanger Farm, Totton,
Friday 19th at 6pm at Portesham VH
Saturday 20th at 2pm and the Waldorf School in Ringwood.
Visit the Forest Forge website for full details.
Pictured is Clive Holland in a cameo Big Bad Wolf moment