Hergé's Adventures of Tintin

Adapted by David Greig
Playhouse Theatre
(2007)

Matthew Parish as Tintin

Cartoon figures come to life in this exquisite, colourful and imaginative production of Tintin's adventures based on the tale of Tintin in Tibet. A blue frame within a frame creates the necessary 3-D illusion for the changing scenery, encompassing the adventures, which helps captivate the young audience.

The opening dream scene exploits kaleidoscopic lighting effects with dance and pantomime to create an enchanting prelude of the scenes to come.

Tintin, delightfully performed by Matthew Parish, the embodiment of the cartoon character, is adamant that his friend Chang survived a DC 3 airplane crash over Nepal and therefore feels compelled to go off and rescue him. Naturally Captain Haddock (Stephen Finegold) and his dog Snowy (Milton Yerolemou) join him on the journey to the Nepalese Himalayas.

The air journey, like many other incidents in this heart-warming saga, is dazzlingly realised. An 8 year old girl sitting next to me declared at the end of the performance that this was her 'best scene'. In Nepal Tintin and his companions overcome serious obstacles in order to reach the location of the crashed aircraft.

Rufus Norris's direction gives vivacity to the cartoon figures. The cast resembles with eerie likeness Hergé's characters. The sweeping blizzard, the ice-covered mountains in the background, the climbing ropes as well as the appearance of the body of the crashed aircraft, generate a sense of danger, excitement and real adventure.

The appearance of the imprints of a Yeti's footprints, when the adventurous team is asleep in their tents, has the young audience clinging to parents. The missing bottle of whisky, purloined by the Yeti, makes them laugh, as does Yerolemou, mimicking a drunken dog.

The introduction of an orange-red wall convincingly transports the group into a colourful Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. The chanting and singing may not sound that convincing to those who are knowledgeable about the East, but it suffices to create the atmosphere befitting the storyline.

The re-transformation of Snowy at the end of the show to a real fluffy white dog, which licks Tintin face for all to see, delighted the young audience. The overall consensus on the night that I attended is that the appearance of the Yeti's footprints was the scariest as one parent explained 'because you cannot see the beast but know it is there'.

The two hour show with a 20 min interval is a triumph. Parents, grandparents and the children are all kept entertained and amused throughout.

This is a fabulous production with superb performances by the entire cast, with brilliant direction. It would be well worth while adapting this show for television so that this memorable experience can be shared by children more widely. After all, of the 23 Tintin's adventures this is the only one that focuses on the importance of friendship and loyalty as well as courage and steadfastness.

If you have young children, grandchildren or even a good friend's children, treat them and yourself to a delightful evening.

Reviewer: Rivka Jacobson