THEATRE REVIEW: 946 The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tipps ★★★★★

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips
Birmingham REP Theatre
Thursday 6th October 2016

If you have read any of my previous reviews from Kneehigh, you will know that they are my favourite theatre company out there; their production of The Wilde Bride that I saw in November 2011 is the reason why I fell in love with theatre and wanted to pursue it as a career. Over the 5 years I have managed to see several more of their productions, and all of them, just like tonight's 946, have left me falling in love with them over and over, and what's so special is that I will be watching this production twice more over the coming months in Warwick and Bristol.

There are so many things I would want to say about this production that this review won't do justice, because everything about this production really was astonishing! Kneehigh are renowned for their music and 946 is no exception, making an angelic to toe tapping underscore that works incredibly well in this production, and it's really nice to see the cast interact with the band, but the way that the band also are actors makes this performance slick, especially from Adam Sopp, who plays the drums in the band but then transforms to play evacuee Barry in the story of Tipps, and has a realism to him through the chemistry provided by Katy Owen, who portrays Lily Tregenza, a young 12 year old girl, who is the owner of Tipps, her cat.

Puppetry is also something established with Kneehigh is every production they do, and this is no different here, from miniature houses and characters, as well as chickens, a dog, and sheep, and it just really adds to the atmosphere of Slapton Sands, the setting to this production, in Devon, 1944.

The comedy timing in this production is also extremely well executed, and the moment where Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler play a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, is such a surreal experience I have ever seen in theatre that I will not forget this anytime soon. With Comedy though they has to be a bit of realism in this story, as we know this production is set around World War 2; Lily’s dad is on the frontline, Barry is an evacuee and his father has passed, and just the way this is executed on stage in such a way that can still keep the audience smiling throughout from the subtlety in this performance is something that has clearly had a lot of thought gone into when creating this beautiful piece of theatre, and something that isn't seen that much in the industry.

Overall, 946 is an extraordinary pjece of theatre made for everyone, children to grandparents alike, and runs in Birmingham until Saturday 15th October, before touring around the UK & USA in the upcoming months.

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