It has long been surmised by my family and friends that I have the maturity and attention span of a five year old, so with this in mind I happily ‘trotted’ off to the Vaudeville theatre to see the stage adaptation of celebrated author Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns. The writer who is most famous for his other currant West End adaptation, War Horse, made a special appearance at the press event and took time to sign books and have photos as well doing a special on stage Q and A with his young fans post show.
The auditorium chirped with the sound of the youngsters as we took our seats for the start of the show, which began with performer Danyah Miller welcoming everyone to her library. The stage was adorned with stacks of ornate looking books and Miller proceeded to tell us the tale of a boy called Tomas who hates school, hates books and hates stories. He is forced to visit the library, and stops to listen to the tales the Unicorn Lady tells. Set in war torn Europe, we follow the story of Tomas and of how the library becomes such an important part of his life.
This is a story telling rather than a play, with Miller bouncing along with enthusiasm as she regales the inter woven stories, including some participation and nice little magic tricks using the set, my favourite of which was a wonderful book come Russian doll which really captured the throngs of excitable kindergarteners. I did find my attention wain after about 20 minutes as, although it was charming and functional, the performance lacked the sparkle and fun which I felt was needed to keep me engaged. There needed to be more changes of pace and tone to break up the story telling, which I think would help it feel more like a theatrical performance rather than just a jackanory.
Reviewed by Nicky Sweetland
Photo: Steve Tanner
I Believe In Unicorns is playing at the Vaudeville Theatre until 30 August 2015. Click here to book tickets