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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Preview: First Hippo on the Moon at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

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David Walliams discusses his latest childeren’s story ahead of it’s Newcastle show
 
Image: © Tony Ross
The First Hippo on the Moon
Newcastle Tyne Theatre and Opera House
Saturday 4th February 2017


David Walliams
Photo: David Parry/ PA Wire
From Number One bestselling Children’s author David Walliams comes an explosively funny space adventure for children of 3 and up. Two big hippos. One enormous dream. Who can make it to the moon first?

3 ...2 ...1 ...BLAST OFF!


David Walliams on stage with the cast of
The First Hippo on the Moon,
adapted for the stage by Les Petits Theatre
Photo: David Parry/ PA Wire
David Walliams has taken the literary world by storm and his brilliantly funny stories are adored by children the world over!  He has achieved unprecedented critical acclaim and quickly developed a reputation as a natural successor to Roald Dahl. His books have been translated into over 45 languages and sold over 9.5 million copies in the UK alone.

Here is what David thinks of the latest story of his to hit the stage…


David Walliams
Photo: David Parry/ PA Wire
Tell us about the history of The First Hippo on the Moon and where the idea for the book came from.
“I have always been fascinated with the space race of the 1960s and wanted to do a spoof on that. I like the idea of hippos going to the moon as they are the animals least likely to. It’s a very visual book, with amazing illustrations by Tony Ross, so it should be a very colourful stage production.“


Photo: The Other Richard
What drew you to working with Les Petits Theatre Company / Les Enfants Terribles for this project? Had you seen any of their work previously?
“I have loved their work for many years so jumped at the chance to work with them. I love great children’s theatre shows, especially now I am a father, so am very excited to see this one. The book is full of humour and I know that are the perfect choice of theatre company to bring that out as there shows are so irreverent and funny. The best shows for children work for the grown-ups too, and I am sure this one will.” 


Photo: The Other Richard
This isn’t the first stage adaptation of your work, how does it feel seeing your characters come to life in the theatre?
“I love seeing adaptations of my books, and really enjoy the changes. I come from writing for television which is very collaborative and have always like working with other people. Ultimately you feel like a magician when something that was in your head becomes real.”


Photo: The Other Richard
If families were to take one message away from The First Hippo on the Moon then what would it be?
“That whoever you are you should dream big, just like Sheila the hippo. Plus if you work together as a team, then you can achieve so much more.”


Photo: The Other Richard
Are you inspired by any other current children’s writers? Which ones did you love reading as a child?
“There are so many great writers for children right now. My personal favourites right now are JK Rowling, Julia Donaldson, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo. When I a young child I loved Richard Scarry and Dr Seuss. My absolute hero is Roald Dahl. He is the greatest children’s writer of all time as he wrote so many brilliant books. I tend to be influenced by everything good I read, though it is pointless trying to copy anybody.“


Photo: The Other Richard
If after seeing or reading The First Hippo on the Moon, young writers were inspired to pick up a pen to create their own story, what advice would you give them?
“I think it’s important you write a story you would like to read. If you like funny stories write a funny story, if you like scary ones write a scary one. You can never guess what it is people want to read, so it is best you write something for yourself. If other people like it that’s a bonus.”


Photo: The Other Richard
And finally - If, like Shelia, you could build a hippo-po-rocket and go anywhere in space where would it be and why?
“I would like to go to Mars. You can forget the books and the comedy shows I feel I would definitely be remembered if I was the first person to go there!”


Photo: The Other Richard
Les Petits Theatre Company have announced the full cast and ten further tour dates for the world premiere of the stage adaptation of David Walliams’ The First Hippo on the Moon. The cast includes Dominic Allen, Alice Bounce, Caroline Bowman, Owen Jenkins and Rosie Nicholls.

Adapted for the stage by acclaimed award winning Theatre company Les Petits and hot off the heals of their hugely successful Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs tour and immersive hit Adventures in Wonderland, comes a fantastical adventure featuring puppetry, music, mayhem and a giant space race to the moon!


Photo: The Other Richard
The creative team have worked on such hit shows such as Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, The Nationals’ Elephantom, War Horse and Raymond Briggs’ The Bear.

Les Petits was set up as the sister company to 'razor sharp theatre group' (The Telegraph) Les Enfants Terribles whose work includes The Trench, The Vaudevillains and Alice’s Adventures Underground. 


Photo: The Other Richard
The production has been adapted for the stage by Les Enfants Terribles and Les Petits’ Artistic Director Oliver Lansley whose recent adaptations have included the immersive dining experience Dinner at the Twits and Alice’s Adventure’s Underground. The puppets for The First Hippo on the Moon have been created by Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell who have previously collaborated on War Horse and The Lorax. The First Hippo on the Moon is suitable for children aged three and up.

Based on David Walliams’ original children’s book with illustrations by Tony Ross, The First Hippo on the Moon is an explosively funny space adventure which sees the enormously rich Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III and ingenious Shelia compete to be the first hippo to make it to the moon.

David Walliams has taken the literary world by storm and his brilliantly funny stories are adored by children the world over. He has achieved unprecedented critical acclaim and quickly developed a reputation as a natural successor to Roald Dahl.

David Walliams
Photo: David Parry/ PA Wire
The First Hippo on the Moon has been adapted for the stage by acclaimed theatre company Les Petits following their hugely successful production of Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. The creative team at Les Petits have also worked on Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax at The Old Vic and the National Theatre’s productions of Elephantom, War Horseand Raymond Briggs’ The Bear. Les Petits was set up as the sister company to Les Enfants Terribles whose work includes Dinner at the Twits, The Game’s Afoot, The Trench, The Vaudevillains and Olivier nominated Alice’s Adventures Underground. 


On The Web:

Tickets
The First Hippo on the Moon appears at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre and Opera House on Saturday 4th February 2017 at 1.30pm
Tickets are priced £15 adults, £12 under 16's & concessions, £48 family ticket (1 adult & 3 children or 2 adults & 2 children) (Plus booking fees when booking online or over the phone).
The Tyne Theatre & Opera House is open 10am-3.30pm Monday to Friday and Event Days.




 

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