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REVIEW: Walter at Newcastle Alphabetti

Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Tuesday 24th - Saturday 28th October &
Wednesday 1st - Friday 3rd November 2017

Written by Steve Byron
Directed by Ali Pritchard

Samantha Phyllis Morris and Emma Crowley-Bennett appear as Walter the pigeon, and the variety of creatures that he meets, in his World War 1 adventure for ages 8+.

Alphabetti Theatre are running Walter alongside Wilfredwhich is for a more mature audience. Both plays portray the horrors of war to their respective audience. Whilst Wilfredcan show the emotional effects of mechanised war to its adult audience Walter needs to find a suitable vehicle to explain what happened without scaring the kids unnecessarily. Wilfred would be suitable for GCSE History students and older whereas Walteris for the Horrible Historiesaudience. By focussing the events through the eyes of a pigeon, writer Steve Byron has nicely side stepped some of the potential issues without the story losing any of the potency.

Walter is a Newcastle pigeon that has won a number of awards racing back to his pigeon loft. When war is called his owner, Bob, takes Walter across to France to work on communications between the trenches. He gets to meet General Haig’s falcon Sir Lancelot Proud-Beak and experiences truffles thanks to Claude the pig.

Rather than having human victims of war, the various pigeons in the loft show the signs of the regular battles. This proves to be a clever touch which kept the younger members of the audience engaged. Samantha Phyllis Morris and Emma Crowley-Bennett both are really engaging with the young crowd. The pigeon was learning about the war as the story progressed and this helped ensure anyone in the audience not familiar with the nature of the conflict were not kept in the dark. Ali Prichard’s direction involves the birds flying occasionally through the audience which helped break the fourth wall. Whilst there were bangs and flashes the children in the audience seemed happy.

This was a history lesson that was neither dull nor patronising. Walter is a successful show in that it informed, educated and entertained the audience. By programming the show, Alphabetti has also given families a chance to share the theatre experience without breaking the bank.

Review by Stephen Oliver.

Tuesday 24thOctober – Saturday 28th October at 4.00pm.
Wednesday 1st– Friday 3rd November at 6.00pm.
Age recommendation 8+
Running time: 45 minutes BOOK ONLINE NOW 

Tuesday 24thOctober – Saturday 28th October at 7.30pm.
Wednesday 1st– Friday 3rd November at 7.30pm.
Age recommendation 16+
Running time: 55 minutes BOOK ONLINE NOW

Tickets £8.00/£6.00 concessions                             
Get £2.00 off if you book both shows

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