The Giant’s Loo Roll is a show for children and the joy for adults is in watching the children respond in their innocence. The play is based on the book by Nicholas Allan. James Worthington has written the stage version and is also playing the male roles in the story. Lyrics are credited to Kate Lindsey but no-one is said to have written the music.
Talegate Theatre Productions are dedicated to providing colourful, fun, noisy,
interactive and hilarious entertainment for all. In essence The Giant’s Loo Roll is a pantomime, complete with cartoon inspired characters, sets and costumes. All the traditional business is incorporated in the show and the children love it.
The set and costumes fulfill the Talegate brief in every way. It all looks amazing and has enough colour and movement to satisfy every child. Danny Mills, the costume designer says, “We decided the costumes should be bright and colourful and use big blocks of colour like the illustrations in Nicholas Allan’s book.” The set resembles a pop-up book and is designed to be portable.
The narrative is, in its way, irrelevant. It exists to provide a frame on which to hang songs and nonsense and it does the job well. Basically the giant’s loo roll provides the wherewithal, paper for the mill, to save the town of London-by-the-sea. Not surprisingly there is a great deal of toilet humour to amuse the young.
In all there are seven characters played by two versatile and very busy actors. Rhiannon Moushall played the tailor, the factory worker, the artist and the school pupil for this performance and was delightful. Moushall sings well, dances with style and has a flair for characterization.
Worthington plays Farmer Joe, the factory boss, and the Headteacher. His strength lies in comedic timing and a deep sense of the ridiculous. His smile is infectious and he moves the pace of the show along in fine form.
The difficult trick in performing for groups of children is never to let the energy drop by providing more information than the audience can take in. Most of the time The Giant’s Loo Roll get this exactly right, however there were one or two times when the young audience were lost.
After the opening number there was too much dialogue and in the first song of Act Two, Thank You Giant, a lot of the humour and information about school and grammar was beyond the pre-schoolers. However, Allan and Moushall always reeled them back in with some audience participation.
The only major mistake in the afternoon was when one little girl was left in the dark auditorium after being on stage for the standard prize winning turn. Luckily her mum was on the ball and the other side of the dark theatre before tears ensued. A mishap that shouldn’t be allowed to happen again.
Music appears to be provided on backing tracks, which is convenient for a travelling company but disappointing in that exposure to live music is desirable for children. There is no credit listed for the music so it’s likely to have been written by the company. Generally the songs are appropriate for the target audience age with opportunities for audience participation. Moushall did struggle in the song, Pants, with too many words becoming lost in the music.
The Giant’s Loo Roll is a highly entertaining piece for children of all ages. Like all good pantomimes there was as much enjoyment for adults as for their young charges.