Review: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Venue: Theatre Royal, Saturday, September 28
The winter wind is whistling down the hills, blowing in a blizzard, blowing in a story of a boy, his rattled sheep, his knitting-mad family, an inconspicuous wolf and of course a whopper of a lie! Or was it really?
Written by Mike Kenny, who adapted the wonderful Railway Children for the stage, and co-produced by Tutti Frutti and York Theatre Royal, this is a charming tale bursting with musical medleys and magical moments – all played out on a hand-knitted stage!
Based on Aesop’s famous fable, the cast of three interchange character seamlessly and weave a fantastical tale to the delight of their young audience.
Reaching out through imaginative storytelling and hilarious characterisation, the show is alive with creative ensembles of music and dancing. With an array of guitars, violins, ukeleles and accordions there is a fun, folky edge to this yarn. My seven year old son Freddie was particularly enthused by the songs.
At the centre of this compelling story is Silas, a boy who tries to do right by his mother and grandfather, but breaks under a burden too heavy for his young shoulders.
Out on the bleak snowy hills with only a flock of daft sheep for company and a party going on down in the valley, he cries “wolf” more than once and when his family arrive up hill he looks… well, er, sheepish.
“Nobody trusts a liar even when they are telling the truth” is the common thread delicately woven into the play’s fabric. No, it’s not OK to lie, but sometimes under an extraordinary amount of pressure people crack and reveal their humanness.
There is no heavy handedness here just a cautionary message. And a young shepherd needs a bit of wolf inside him or how else is he going to protect his wayward sheep?
With an enchanting set and beguiling sheep this is a play with a heart as big as a wolf’s. Silas comes good and with happy celebrations the story ends as magically as it had begun, and the sheep and the audience emerge from the darkness into the light.
- See also ‘I’m not interested in telling moral stories to children’
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf is at the York Theatre Royal studio from Thursday, September 26 to Saturday, October 12, at 11am, 1.30pm and 6pm
- Tickets cost £10 for adults and £6 children. For more information see the Theatre Royal website