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Sunday, July 13, 2014


(Taryn Bennett & James Cairns. Pic: Sam Lowe)

Impressive and moving production is a performance and technical triumph.(Review by Keith Millar)

It was the creative team staging The Snow Goose at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown that first attracted me to the production. As a starting point, Paul Gallico’s classic novella is a pretty good choice. It is an engaging story that has been loved by young and old alike over the past seven decades.

The problem is that it is rather expansive in scope and is played out against a background of desolate Essex marshes, an abandoned lighthouse, storms at sea, and the miracle of the rescue of Allied troops off Dunkirk beach during World War Two. To top that, there is quite a cast of local characters who play important parts in the telling of the story.

It was going to take a special team to translate The Snow Goose for stage, particularly given the limitations of time and space inherent in presenting a production on the fringe at the festival.

KBT Productions certainly chose well and their production, making considerable use of masks, a very innovative set and quite outstanding sound design is a performance and technical triumph, and played to sold-out audiences at the Glennie Hall.

Direction as well as set design and masks are by the acclaimed Jenine Collocott. All the parts, with the help of masks and without, are superbly portrayed by award winning actors James Cairns and Taryn Bennett.

Sound design is by Peter Cornell and this plays a special part in the production with a wonderful selection of period music and the use of brilliant and very dramatic sound effects.

The story is about a wounded snow goose which is rescued from hunters by a young girl, Fritha. In the process she meets and befriends a reclusive cripple, Philip Rhayader, who lives in an abandoned lighthouse. Every year the snow goose returns and the bond between the three of them grows stronger.

At the start of the war, Philip tries to enlist but is turned down because of his infirmity. When everyone who has any kind of boat is asked to sail to Dunkirk to rescue the Allied troops who are trapped there, Philip is amongst those who go.

It is a story of great love and courage.

My only criticism, and a small one, is that the projection of the shadow puppets used on occasion was too small to be seen properly from the rear of the theatre. – Keith Millar