Kneehigh Theatre and Michael Morpurgo’s 946

July 31, 2015 by becca.lazar No Comments

kneehigh asylum

Kneehigh Theatre Company are one of the brightest jewels in Cornwall’s crown – so said Cornish poet Charles Causley. Ever since their inception in the 1980s, they’ve been building a reputation as an imaginative, original and quite anarchic touring company. In the past they’ve created shows inspired by films, Brief Encounter; performed Benjamin Britten Operas, Noye’s Flood; and won awards as far away as San Francisco.

This summer Kneehigh are reprising their Asylum experience in the green expanses of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This jaw-dropping, nomadic theatre tent is being erected for the fifth year running (actually, I’ve just been informed by a Heligan employee that it’s a bigger, better tent this year), and after last year’s radical Beggar’s Opera: Dead Dog in a Suitcase, it’s looking to be a spectacular event. The Guardian newspaper has described the Asylum as ‘a place predisposed to magic.’

For Asylum 2015 Kneehigh are collaborating with War Horse author, Michael Morpurgo to create 946, the little known story of the rehearsal of the D-Day landings, and of the 946 people who were killed during Operation Tiger at Slapton Sands in 1944. The D-Day rehearsal was a disaster on a grand scale. However, the true story was to remain a secret for decades, covered up by both the UK and US governments.

946 is adapted from Morpurgo’s own novel The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and is being brought to the stage by award winning director Emma Rice, who described the writer as a humble and brilliant collaborator.

Having a cat as a main character means there’s going to be some puppetry and foolishness in this tale of war, prejudice and love. After seeing recent rehearsals, Morpurgo himself commented, ‘something quite remarkable is being concocted by Emma Rice and her team, quite amazing, wonderful energy, beautiful dance and music, great acting, the makings of a really terrific show.’

The show recently previewed at Latitude Festival to a packed audience who shed tears and laughed along with all the dance numbers, despite not even getting to see a full dress rehearsal – the cast were all in identical boiler suits! Unfortunately for them, they were also denied the climax due to stage timings – only those who see it at Heligan will be rewarded with the catharsis of ending, it seems.

This is due to be a very special summer event and one that would make any holiday that little bit more special.

To book tickets visit www.hallforcornwall.co.uk or ring 01872 262466.

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