dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Two male penguins aim to hatch an egg
When director Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney heard the story of two male penguins who hatched an abandoned egg together at New York City Zoo, he immediately knew he wanted to turn it into a theatre production. The result is Penguins, a 45-minute show aimed at children aged three and above.
Mc Eneaney eschews words and works with choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra to create a piece where the storytelling comes through dance and movement. And in doing so, they've shaped a charming piece of small theatre, which will delight children and adults alike.
Osian Meilir and Jack Webb play the penguins to perfection with movement based on the anthropomorphic birds everyone loves. They preen, hop, shake out their wings and move their heads from side-to-side on 'land' and when they dive they find a new grace under the 'water'.
Corey Annand plays both the kind-hearted zookeeper and the chick – a role in which she beautifully recreates the wonder at discovering a whole new world of being alive.
There are plenty of lovely comic touches such as when the penguins play hide-and-seek, eat their fish dinners and chase each other into the water but there's also a moment of pathos as the two males wake one morning to discover eggs in all of the nests – except theirs.
Sabine Dargent has done an excellent job in creating an ice-block like set, which offers the cast plenty of opportunity for movement and surprise, as well as black and white costumes which are clearly penguins while not tipping over into caricature. Garth McConaghie's music also enhances the atmosphere, capturing the joy of being alive.
Produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Cahoots NI and Prime Theatre, Penguins is premiered in the Rep's Door, a small intimate performance space ideally suited to a show of this size. It then tours for the spring – for full details visit www.cahootsni.com/shows/penguins