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Gorilla review at Polka Theatre Wimbledon

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To celebrate 30 years since the award-winning picture book was published, Polka Theatre has created a Gorilla that just about fits into its tiny Adventure Theatre space for the under fives. It’s neatly done, encapsulating the visual wit of Browne’s drawings and his trademark fascination with apes, particularly gorillas, and the way their family dynamic mirrors that of humans..

A feeling of enclosure emanates from Laura McEwen’s pop-up, fold-out set, framed by numerous pictures of gorillas in various guises. Within its homely confines, a little girl apes her beleaguered father to catch his attention. Ceri Ashcroft as the gorilla-obsessed child, Hannah, exudes energy and mischief, colluding with the very young audience from under her fringe. Under puppet specialist Stefanski’s direction, the magical birthday fervently wished for unfolds in a sweetly detailed small-scale adventure, involving pyjama-ed puppet Hannah and her dream Gorilla swinging over a fairy lit cut-out city. A brisk pace in maintained with Julian Butler’s busy music, which includes a catchy banana song to accompany an eye-popping birthday tea. It’s all part of a moveable feast of birthday treats and tricks, which spring up with thrilling regularity, much as they do in Mr Browne’s beguiling books.

Production Information

Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, October 19-February 15

Anthony Browne (adapted by Rachel Barnett)
Roman Stefanski
Polka Theatre
Ceri Ashcroft, Phil Yarrow
Running time

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