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14 January 2012

The Phoenix and the Carpet

IVth Form Trip to the Theatre - A Review of ‘The Phoenix and the Carpet’

On Saturday 14th January, the Fourth Form went to see the matinee performance of ‘The Phoenix and the Carpet’ at the Lighthouse in Poole. The play was performed by the Nuffield Theatre and Forest Theatre Company.

The play was about five children who accidentally burn their old carpet with fireworks and have to buy a new one. When Robert, one of the children, opens the carpet an extraordinary egg falls out. Cyril, another of the children, puts it on the mantelpiece, but typically Robert knocks it into the fire and a phoenix hatches out. They find out that the carpet is a magic carpet which gives the children three wishes a day! They go on many adventures together with the phoenix…

The key moments were when the beautiful, magnificent phoenix hatches and when the big fire happens and the theatre burns down. Also, when, on one of their adventures they find a bag of gold at the bottom of a deep, dark castle in France and save a French lady from going to the workhouse.

My favourite character was the phoenix which was played by Andrew Wheaton. He was very funny and rather full of himself. I liked his funny sayings.

The set was very simple with a background of blue sky and fluffy white clouds. It was very clever though how they made different things happen. For example, when a fire was pushed in through a flap in the wall and when the same flap was used to open up into a counter for serving tea.

They had lots of different props from a big carpet to a model carpet and from a golden egg to a big, golden talking phoenix. There were lots of puppets like the phoenix and the lamb. The lamb wore a little lace nightgown and the phoenix had a ruffle of splendid golden feathers.

Most of the costumes were old Edwardian clothes, but there were lots of others too like the Australians who wore long necklaces with tropical flowers round their neck and with Hawaiian skirts. But the best costumes of all were the lobster, penguin and the walrus. The lobster wore a red dress and a red coat with red claws and a very funny hat which had big pointy claws coming out of the top. My favourite was the walrus who wore a big, brown sleeping bag with little flippers and tusks.  

The director used lots of lighting effects like flashing coloured lights and coloured gels when they were flying as well as blue, red, green and purple spotlights with clouds of smoke.

They also thought carefully about sound effects such as the sound of a bicycle crashing into a bus. The chugging of a train made you feel like you were at a real station and it was very clever when they were clinking the teacups on the saucers to make a perfect rhythm.  There were also songs called ‘Trinkets, Baubles and Shiny Things’ and ‘Wishes and Dreams’. (We all keep humming the trinket song!) 

I would really recommend this play because it was very funny and entertaining. Also it was very clever since they only had five actors. The puppets in particular were very funny and lifelike.  It was an amazing show and an afternoon I will never forget.

By Daisy Stroyan.
(Fourth Form)