The Court presents a musical adaptation of the well-loved children’s classic Puss in Boots updated to be relevant for children today.
Down-on-his-luck shoemaker Dave (Jack Marshall) is head over heels for the fantastically feisty Princess Grace – but the greedy Queen Hippolotta ( both played by Jane Leonard) wants her daughter to marry a fancy man. When Dave meets a crafty, cheeky and charismatic cat wearing a pair of boots, Puss promises to make Dave’s dreams come true!
Playwright Georgia-Kate Heard has adapted lots of aspects of the traditional fairy tale to make it enjoyable for children of all ages, by adding humour and as much audience interaction as possible. “I want the children to feel part of the story, like they are coming on an exciting journey with the characters,” says Heard.
In many old fairy tales, the central female is often a passive character whose only goal is to marry a prince or someone wealthy enough to take care of her. In The Court Theatre’s new adaptation the princess – and the puss – have undergone a few changes that better reflect the times.
“In this world we live in now, full of so many powerful, independent and successful women, I knew I had to write a strong female character who didn’t need to be ‘saved,’” says Heard. “I want little girls to sit in the audience of my show and see someone they can look up to.”
The charismatic cat Puss will be played by Lucy Porter, fresh from her lead role in the hit show Hairspray.
Another major difference about this version of Puss in Boots from its 16th Century origins is that it is a musical. Award winning composer and pianist Matt Everingham has written original music with lyrics by Heard. Everingham is well known for his work composing for film, theatre and concert. Performances of his work have been given around New Zealand (NZTrio) and his earthquake memorial composition premiered in Westminster Abbey on the 4th anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake.
The music is upbeat, clever and will certainly have the little ones dancing in their seats. They are age appropriate for an audience of 3-7 year olds, yet sophisticated enough for the parents and older children to enjoy as well.
The Court will also be holding its second Relaxed Performance on 1st October at 1pm designed to welcome those who benefit from a more informal performance environment, including people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders or a learning difficulty. There will be a relaxed attitude to noise and movement during the performance, and some small changes will be made to the light and sound effects. The auditorium will have a smaller than usual capacity so patrons will be able to move around more easily.
Heard and Everingham believe children’s theatre is important to the future of the arts. It’s the young people who sit riveted in the audience of a show, who develop a love of theatre, of entertaining, of storytelling and who may go on to be our next Sir Peter Jackson or Margaret Mahy!