REVIEW: “Arabian Nights” at the Library Theatre at the Lowry until January 12th.
Box office: 0843 2086000. Website: www.thelowry.com
Imaginative, innovative, impressive... I run out of adjectives to describe the Library Theatre Company’s Christmas production at the Quays Theatre at the Lowry.
I loved this wonderful mixture of music, dance, humour, pathos, all set in a colourful, exotic eastern world. Based on the adaptation first presented by Dominic Cooke at the Royal Court, the Library’s interpretation has everything.
Firstly it succeeds because of the amazing adaptability of the cast of nine, Paul Barnhill, Mark Carlisle, Emilio Doorgasingh, Roksaneh Gwaham-Shahidi, Kerenza James, Jo Mousley, Tachia Newell, Mitash Soni, and Claire Storey plus musician Arun Ghosh. Between them they act out dozens of different parts.
I was so impressed by their versatility in role changing and musical talents. They portray characters in about six different tales. The legend of Shahrazad, (Rohksaneh Gwaham-Shahidi) is familiar to us all, and we admire her ability to tell intriguing stories for 1,001 nights to prevent the King (Emilio Doorgasingh) from executing her at dawn. The production is framed by Shaharazad’s own experience and then she and her fellow actors spring into life in to become participants or witnesses in some of the fables, the most familiar of which is Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.
The Fate of the Little Beggar Boy is hilarious and gives Tachia Newell a chance to demonstrate his wonderfully comic physical talents. There isn’t a weak link, or a boring moment in this amazingly multi coloured, diverse entertainment. I took three young companions, ranging in age from 16 to nine/ten, and they were all enthralled, each enjoying it in a slightly different way, from the dramatic and production skills to the outrageous humour.
This is very clever theatre/drama and I must praise not only the actors, but, as always the incredible design team, led by Hayley Grindle and the skills of director Amy Leach. A really surprising, super, spectacular, must-see production. (Sorry back on the adjectives again!) The Library will be back at the Lowry on February 22nd with Brecht’s “Mother Courage”.
PIPPA MUNRO HEBDEN