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for a previous production "What Cannon and Manley achieve to perfection is to capture the spirit of Sewell’s great cry for the well being of animals, while holding the story at just enough distance to make it slightly less frightening and nightmarish...All the sadness is there...but so is a gentle humour that has the kids in the audience shouting with laughter, a touching human relationship beautifully realised, and a stream of inventive genius that seems like the spirit of hope itself." Full Review
for a previous production "A triumph of object-theatre stagecraft, it takes a rosette-worthy canter through a stableful of horse-themed gags, while paying touching testament to the value of resilience...The approach provides a narrative frame for the episodic tales, while offering a jokey point of contrast to Sewell’s high drama of burning barns and animal cruelty...It’s as beguiling as it is funny, and if your heart’s never gone out to a fallen welly, this is the show for you." Full Review
for a previous production "Drawing on wells of child-friendly physical comedy and very clever storytelling enacted by the perfect versatility of Reppe’s horsebox set...Everything you could hope for in a seasonal children’s tale is here...It’s no small feat that, as the silliness rises to a conclusion which is perfect in its daftness, so too does our investment in these characters and the story they tell." Full Review
for a previous production "The creative team not only leap every hurdle with ticklish wit, they saddle up a whole stable of inventive flourishes that make everyday objects...There’s a strand of profoundly affecting pathos in the plight of these close-knit brothers...If the trappings – design details, brilliant funny business – are a delight, it’s the cleverly-nuanced emotional heart of the piece that takes 'Black Beauty' cantering an extra, impressive mile." Full Review
for a previous production "A cleverly versatile stage for Cannon and Manley to bring all their storytelling abilities...The pair recreate Sewell’s narrative with broad strokes, galloping through Black Beauty’s life and adventures, mentioning but never dwelling on its darkest moments...Aficionados of the novel might not find it dark enough, but will enjoy recognising the passing scenes...Carefully balanced and packed with hidden ideas and word-play, the production draws cleverly from pantomime, storytelling, and puppet... Full Review
for a previous production "Much of the source’s power has gone. While some of the moral lessons remain, the more worrying aspects of animal cruelty detailed in the book are smoothed over to a great extent, and any worrying moments are made suitable for younger audiences...Where this production really scores is in its original features. The McCuddys’ story is easily strong enough to carry the show on its own, with Manley and Cannon’s portrayal of the sibling relationship being both funny and touching." Full Review
for a previous production "This fantastic production of the story will not disappoint; in fact, it will go beyond your expectations...As someone not overly familiar with the story, I didn’t feel as if I missed out by experiencing it through this unusual retelling...The approach offers the audience new perspectives on the story...The two actors are engaging throughout, and we soon forget that there isn’t a horse on stage...'Black Beauty' more than satisfies...It’s guaranteed to have you grinning from ear to ear." Full Review
for a previous production "They begin to reenact scenes from the book through storytelling, song, comedy, and puppetry. There’s chases, bike rides, and a brilliant moment involving audience participation...As with any good Panto, there’s plenty of references to keep the parents happy...It’s a bit of a dark story, but any potentially harrowing scenes are skillfully dealt with to avoid kids blurting their eyes out...It’s just really good fun. I enjoyed it so much." Full Review
for a previous production "Definitely sure of what it’s doing, and—for the most part—doing it extremely well...Inventively and powerfully achieved, the pair utilize the full space of the Traverse theatre...The real drama here comes from the ongoing stresses and strains that threaten to tear these two brothers apart...This show is definitely not a pantomime, but it nevertheless borrows many of its most successful elements...A touching, subtly performed tale." Full Review
for a previous production "Much of the original novel’s power comes from the contrast of love and abuse its equine characters experience from their owners. This theatrical version neuters these complex elements in favour of a more basic Christmas story...The creators set out to tell 'Black Beauty' as simply as possible while framing it in a new, child-friendly tale of friendship in adversity. In this it is a success...Ultimately, appealing to families is what this production sets out to do, and it achieves its aim." Full Review
See it if Want a well-acted and cleverly-presented play telling the story of Black Beauty. I went without a kid, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Don't see it if You do not like children’s theater.
See it if you want a very entertaining and intelligent show for your kids. Staging is very clever. Adults can enjoy this show also.
Don't see it if you want a sophisticated show. This is a simple show done very cleverly. It is a feel good show and the children who came enjoyed it.
See it if you want a delightful & cleverly executed show to pick up your day! Great use of props as characters/found object puppetry.
Don't see it if you want an exact retelling of Black Beauty (it's more a story of 2 bro's persevering thru hardship). You dislike audiences of mostly kids.
See it if You have kids. It is a great kids' show - though funny for adults too, it can get a little slow. Wonderful spirited actors and a great story
Don't see it if You are not into children's theater.
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