If you’ve never seen a Kneehigh production then prepare to be dazzled, amused, heartsick, shocked and inspired by a truly marvelous show. It’s a celebration of human optimism, a swinging dance romp, a romantic love story, and ultimately a tear producing tragedy. Here is my synopsis of the story: A young English girl in World War 2 loses her cat, Adolphus Tips, and two black G.I.‘s stationed nearby try to find it for her. That’s it! But how this effects the lives of hundreds of decent people caught up in a cruel war is a message for our time.
The amazing 11 member cast portray numerous characters, men play women, women play men, most play musical instruments, and all sing and dance up a storm.
Katy Owen is dynamic as the awkward 12 year old, while Mike Shepherd who founded Kneehigh in 1980 is hilarious as a motorcycle-riding grandmother.
The rest of these extraordinary folk in alphabetical order: Nandi Bhebhe, Seamus Carey, Emma Darlow, Ncuti Gatwa, Kyla Goodey, Chris Jared, Craig Johnson, Adam Sopp and Akpore Uzoh. Pat Moran is music director. Tips the Cat and other farmyard creatures are by puppet director Sarah Wright.
Based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, who co-adapted with director/choreographer Emma Rice, who notes, “946 allows us to remember the intense passions, senses and fears of being a child, and through this deceptively simple lens a global, timeless and political vision appears.”
If you have a passion for live theater do not miss it!
At Wallis Annenberg Center, 9390 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, through March 5. Tickets: 310 746-4000 or Online – TheWallis.org.
Photos by Steve Tanner.