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Previewed 10 December 2003, Opened 11 December 2003, Closed 7 January 2004 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London
Theatre Alibi present a stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel Why The Whales Came in London for a strictly limited Christmas season of 40 performances.
"You keep away from the Birdman!". But Gracie and her friend Daniel discover that he isn't mad or dangerous like everyone says. After all, it's the Birdman who warns them about the curse of Samson Island. So when Daniel and Gracie find themselves stranded there in the fog, they begin to unravel the island's haunting secrets....
Set in the Isles of Scilly, Why the Whales Came follows the adventures of Daniel and Gracie as they unravel some of the myths surrounding the mysterious Birdman. They try to avoid Big Tim, who is the local bully, but also happens to be Daniel's brother. They learn news of the war with Germany from their teacher; Mr. Wellbeloved, and they discover the truth about Samson, the haunted, deserted island. Why The Whales Came is a gripping adventure story for 8 to 13 year olds and their families, by award-winning Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo, action packed with live music.
The cast for Why the Whales Came features Holly Hutchings as 'Gracie', Benjamin Warren as 'Daniel' and James Walker as 'Birdman' with Jordan Whyte and Derek Frood with live music by cellist Harry Napier. Michael Morpurgo's novel is adapted for the stage by Greg Banks and is directed by Nikki Sved with designs by Dominie Hooper and music by Tom Johnson.
"The story is played out on Dominie Hooper's evocative set of woody hues, with a half-furled sail, an upturned hull, planks and crates used to conjure everything from a house and beached whale to the brow of a hill. The cast shares narrating duties while the cellist Harry Napier provides a moody underscore. But this is no exercise in blue-remembered-hills nostalgia. Gracie's mother struggles to feed her family, Daniel's bullying brother Tim is a constant threat and prejudice and paranoia are fuelled by talk of German submarines and spies... This is a gentle charmer of a show, an excellent antidote to the more glutinous family entertainment that descends at this time of year." The Times
"Greg Banks's vivid, exciting adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's children's novel is a story for all seasons, which he and director Nikki Sved stage with economy and imagination. Set in the Scilly Isles in 1914, it concerns plucky young Gracie and Daniel, who make friends with the Birdman, an old salt with a long beard, a remarkable gift for carving birds from driftwood and a reputation for being mad and possibly bad... Dominic Hooper's atmospheric set is littered with the flotsam and jetsam brought in by the Scilly tides, a rotting dinghy, lobster pots and the tattered remains of a sail, which serves as a shelter. The cast are splendid, their seagull cries eerily real, and Thomas Johnson's haunting musical accompaniment on the cello brings a school of whales marvellously to life. An exemplary piece of theatre." The Mail On Sunday
Why The Whales Came in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 10 December 2003, opened on 11 December 2003 and closed on 7 January 2004.