1 April 2021

An Elephant In the Garden Review

 The Barn Theatre in Cirencester has been a real beacon of light during the lockdowns and their online work is continuing to be utterly brilliant, their latest offering is a streamed one-woman adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book, An Elephant in the Garden, produced by Poonamallee Productions. Adapted and directed for the stage by Simon Reade, this production is a fast-paced delightful piece of story-telling.  


It's 1945 in war-torn Dresden, Germany. Lizzie, our main character, her mother and an elephant, Marlene, from the zoo. After a terrible bombing, the trio flees, trying to escape from the end-game of the second world war. Along the way, they encounter a downed RAF officer, a homeless school choir and the mechanised American cavalry. 


Alison Reid in An Elephant in the Garden. Photo -  Farrows Creative

This might be Lizzie's story but the true heroine is Marlene, the elephant. She's the heart of the tale, with a great spirit and an indestructible never say die attitude. She's a gentle giant who drives the story and its characters forwards. 


Alison Reid is outstanding in delivering the story. She tells the story with the highest skill, she does with the words what a great painter would do with their paint, she delivers tremendous art. 


The design by Max Johns is fairly simple, the stage features nothing much more than a bombed-out wall at the back, but the simple design allows for the words to draw you in. Matthew Graham's lighting captures all the right moods throughout the production as does a great soundscape by Jason Barnes. The production is superbly captured by Alex Tabrizi and their team.


Alison Reid in An Elephant in the Garden. Photo - Farrows Creative

The production had me completely gripped as it reached its heartwarming conclusion. A superb adaptation with a dazzling one-woman performance.


Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ storytelling at its very best.


An Elephant in the Garden is streaming from the Barn Theatre from 2nd April - 18th April. Tickets are £13.50 and give the viewer a 24-hour access window to watch. barntheatre.org.uk/barn-at-home 

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