Monday, 29 March 2021

Glen Street favourite Jonathan Biggins (The Wharf Revue) talks about directing the hilariously mischievous family musical, Pete the Sheep.

“How do you bring a picture book to the stage? How do you make the illustrations live, the words sing and the characters inhabit three dimensions, not two? Easy – create a musical!" laughs Biggins.

"Pete the Sheep began life on the page and now it finds a new life in the theatre, thanks to the vision and commitment of the Monkey Baa team. My job in the process has been to shape their words and Phil Scott’s music and lyrics into a show that emulates the spirit and vivacity of this much-loved work by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley."

"Along the way we’ve had to flesh out the characters, alter the structure to give it a theatrical flow and inject some comedy that appeals across the generations – audiences respond best when all ages present are engaged."

"We’ve been blessed with an energetic and multi-talented cast who can switch from shearer to sheep to sheepdog with only the change of a hat. James Browne’s engagingly simple design, elegantly lit by Matt Marshall, has created the shearing shed with a visual flair that echoes the book’s original illustrations. In the modern digital world of electronic gratification, a bit of wood, wool and hessian show what the theatre does best: actors using their voices and physicality to draw us into another world to tell us a yarn."

"And Pete the Sheep is a simple yarn of difference, acceptance and friendship. But it was never our intention to simplify it further – why should theatre for children be devoid of sophistication, wit and wordplay? Thankfully, we’ve left in a sheep poo joke for the grown-ups.”

– Jonathan Biggins, Director


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