The Young Visiters (sic) by Rough Haired Pointer at Tabard Theatre

A delightful evening of theatre was in store for us as we headed to the Tabard Theatre for the first time to see our first show from Rough Haired Pointer. Just down from Shepherds Bush at Turnham Green we should really consider this one of our local theatres.

‘The Young Visitors’ is a novel by nine-year-old Daisy Ashford written in 1890. Having been rediscovered in a drawer a few years later, it gained quite a reputation as it was passed among her friends in the early 20th century. With the help of J. M Barrie it was eventually published and later turned into a play and musical. Its popularity has continued to grow and it is now regarded as a cult classic. This version by Rough Haired Pointer certainly showed why.

A company that celebrates the elements of play and chance in live drama, Rough Haired Pointer were perfect for realising nine-year-old Daisy’s story. With childlike freedom and much hilarity they brought to life Mr Salteena, who longs to be a gentleman, Ethel Monticue, a young lady with a silly run and Bernard Clark, a nobleman with very nice thin legs.

From the moment the ‘quear shaped parcel’ arrives, crashing down form the ceiling we were aware this piece was going to blend humour and farce. Furthermore the story was accompanied musically by a host of interesting instruments. Brilliant moments of theatrical design and direction were ever present throughout the play such as the umbrellas that rained, the washing of Mr Sulteena and the creation of boats, trains and a horse and cart with the simplest of props and sound effects.

Seeing this on its last night, it was clear the company were taking some unscripted risks. The terrified response from Bernard Clark on encountering a large toy spider in the picnic hamper suggested the spider did not make a regular appearance. Drinks, including an audience member’s G&T, were poured over heads and faces. Clearly the cast were having a great time.

It is such a pleasure to see a group of actors really enjoying performing, whilst keeping the fundamentals of telling a lovely story in an engaging fashion. We will be keeping our eyes on Rough Haired Pointer. Great work from Mary Franklin (Artistic Director) Carin Nakanishi (Designer) Olivia Amory (Producer) Jordan Mallory-Skinner (Musical Director) and the entire cast of The Young Visiters. And having experienced such an entertaining night of theatre at the Tabard, we will certainly be returning to this local theatre.

Highlight of the show – Mr Sulteena’s manically depressed scarf juggle and Ethel Monticue’s Hendricks revival.

WIGS 4/5

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