Review: Gulliver’s Travels; The Octagon, Bolton

Gulliver puppet by Handmade Parade. Photo by Bolton Documentary Photography.
Gulliver puppet by Handmade Parade. Photo by Bolton Documentary Photography.
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The consensus of opinion might have been that staging Gulliver’s Travels outdoors was a tall order – but the Octagon has once again risen to the challenge and shown it has the measure of whatever it sets out to do.

Just as it did with its previous production, Summer Holiday, this wonderful theatre proved up to the task and managed it with a combination of finely-tuned organisation and typical Octagon ingenuity – and I’ve not even got to the individual performances yet!

The star of the show was undoubtedly the 25ft. tall version of Gulliver, which was a remarkably good likeness to his human counterpart played by Michael Pevoy.

But the performances of Michael and the bubbly Anne O’Riordan, who played Gulliver’s daughter, were certainly not overshadowed by the puppet. They played their parts with such enthusiasm and such gusto that you couldn’t help being wrapped up in it all. Due to illness, the role of Lord Skyresh was played by Marc Small instead of Robert Jackson and the role fitted Marc like a glove.

All in all, it’s a fun production but be advised to take a foldaway chair unless you are prepared to be on your feet for 90 minutes as the scenes are set in four different locations within the park. Also be prepared for some eggs-cruciating egg puns which I found, dare I say it, quite pun-ishing!

In the end, what could have been something that was too big to handle, turned out to be – yes – a walk in the park. Make sure you don’t miss it - the booking office telephone number is 01204-520661 and the run comes to an end on August 27th.