Review: The Green Children, Red Rose Chain, The Avenue, Ipswich
When a piece of theatre brings a tear to your eye, you know it’s doing something right.
Aimed at 13-21 year-olds with disabilities or complex and multiple difficulties, this multi-sensory show is a coming of age story based on the famous Suffolk myth The Green Children of Woolpit. Youngsters Rose (Rachael McCormick) and Ralph (Daniel Abbott) are found on the edge of Woolpit Wood. Who are they, where did they come from, why don’t they speak a language anybody understands and why are they green?
Richard (Tony Carrick) recounts the story to grandaughter Agnes (Charlotte Carey) of how they’re taken in by an old man who’s lost his love of life and tries to teach them society’s way. He ends up learning just as much from them as they do from him.
Skilfully adapted by Kirsty Thorpe and Laura Norman, the cast’s interaction with the audience was beautiful to watch. The widening wonder in the youngsters’ eyes as they were encouraged to get more and more involved is indescribable. As was the joy on the face of those who’d brought them to see the show.
Full marks to all involved - both in front and behind the scenes - in the staging of the show.
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The floor of the theatre was converted to lush grass, tree branches hung from the ceiling, Thorpe and Norman’s scent and soundscape was breathtaking; it felt like you were really in a forest and garden. The rain and snow scenes were a particularly clever touch.
David Newborn’s lighting design and Jimmy Grimes’ puppetry also deserve special mention.
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Devised by the company and young people at special schools across Suffolk and Cambridge, I hope Red Rose Chain find the funding to bring this show to a larger audience.