Babe, The Sheep-Pig Review
Are you tired of getting sunburnt in this unusual British heat? Then why don’t you head down to The Mercury Theatre in Colchester to see Babe: The Sheep-Pig, the pig that is almost as pink as your sunburn. A note to add, The Mercury Theatre has air-conditioning and ice cream to offer.
The storyline, originally from the book by Dick King-Smith, was clear throughout the entire performance and it seemed to express many morals and lessons in a fun and entertaining way. Furthermore, it shows children and adults that everyone can be friends no matter how different you are compared to others. Another message shown through the production is the importance of manners and politeness and the fact that both of those qualities can get us further in life than rudeness and arrogance, of which society at the moment has an issue with – per se.
Not only are messages portrayed through Babe: The Sheep-Pig but also emotions. The lights, actors, and music all brought together a sense of emotion. Both happy emotions and sad ones at times. In fact, the way the actors spoke the cheesy jokes and puns gave a thorough wave of enjoyment within the audience. The jokes will leave you snorting! To continue, the most part of the production was all fun and laughs but when a sad part came the hairs on your arms stood up on end. The music accompanying the scene set the mood and the actors’ focus increased the emotion in the room even more. It will even leave parents sucking in their tears at the back of their throats.
The set for Babe was spectacular. Did you know that The Mercury Theatre make all their sets and props in their own warehouse too? The backdrops and set pieces were very colourful and enticed the children in the audience. The staging was also very clever, as well as presentable on the outside. The house on stage spins around to show what the house would look like on the inside. One has to admit, there were many ‘wows’ on the young children’s faces as you looked around the auditorium. All the casts’ costumes were both correctly portrayed and elegantly pieced together however the costume that topped it all off was the wolf’s costume with a special lighting touch to it which really changed the atmosphere appropriately in the scene.
If you were looking for something musical and upbeat to watch this summer, you’ve come to the right place! Throughout, the actors and cast members play live instruments on stage instead of pre-recorded music. It really does give that unique touch to the performance. Adding to the music side of things, the musical transitions showed clear movement into a new scene or set layout which in effect looked professional.
Every actor in Babe had excellent facial expressions. These expressions made the story so much more enjoyable and allowed the audience to understand what type of character the actor portrays. This is important as it is hard, when everyone is dressed the same in a scene, for example as sheep, to pick out different personalities in the characters. I talked to Ebony Feare for a moment after the production who laughed and said: “My cheeks hurt now because of all those facial expressions!” The actors really do put a lot of effort into these plays and performances.
Speaking of effort, the precise energy and focus used to move Babe around the stage gave an overwhelming feeling that Babe could, in fact, be real (instead of being a prop). We owe a huge thank you to Jonathan Cobb for that. Like Ebony Feare, I too had a chat with Jonathan after the production and he went on to say, “The Babe prop isn’t extremely heavy although it can be when you have to lift it up.”
Overall, Babe: The Sheep-Pig is the perfect alternative if you don’t want to be sitting in the garden all summer. I would watch it again and it provides a fun experience for both you and your children. The interactive element is also in this performance with the children joining in with songs and opportunities to take photos with the characters at the end.
You’d be maaaa-d not to see this cracking & pig time favourite story at The Mercury Theatre, you have until August 26th.
By Louise Newberry