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Steam Whistle Theatre Company - review

What a cracking book! Full Steam ahead… 'for the North where they should like Shakespeare'... so says Pa and he knows his Bard...

Mind, Vivian has written over 300 and really knows what to do, she is perhaps our greatest current writer for ANY child, she can write pretty much any age and subject and does so with flair, invention and wit. Most importantly she does it so fluently and immediately gets us into the plot and alongside the characters.

They are so well written, impeccable in their entirety and there is something for everyone, her perspectives are superb.

Quick praise for the cover too, illustrated by Hannah Peck and it’s a lovely vintage but modern and quirky look at the same time, I feel Robin Stevens crossed with Lemony Snicket.

There is a cast list and it is full of Victorian charm and intrigue, what shall we make of Little Baby Bubbles? Actually, as the book has a wonderful device of ‘Theatre’ as the backdrop, it is a Dramatis Personae actually darlings…. Baby was born that way and has grown into one, a truly wonderful creature. Don’t feel sorry for him though, he lives the life of Riley…

There are two rival emporiums of delights, both want the business, but in a way, they sort of know sharing may have to happen- begrudging nods to competition being accepted in the circumstances of honour, all well done with a few characters flitting cleverly between the two pubs vying for the same clientele.

The Pringle clan are worthy thespian’s but unlucky, things just don’t go their way, so much that they have only enough rail fare for most of the cast to go on tour… They rewrite the Bard and throw in orphans and music hall songs with a nod to real names of the time. Their luck is terrible, props ruined, costumes vomited on, rain won’t stop to dry the curtains to  set the stage for  the play, it’s a hoot.

Honourable Henry Poskett of Uncaster Hall, deceased and destitute, leaving pretty much nothing for his poor wife and family bar bailiffs and the workhouse beckoning, we soon meet the loyalist galley slave ever, Edie Boiler, a workhouse girl with ingenuity and grit beyond her years, she is a true star and not to be messed with by bully boys.

There are pickpockets, magic, dastardly doers and disgraceful relatives, an underlying passion for Shakespeare and invention to amuse on every page, the book is a perfect treat for anyone who loves a real story told with aplomb. Plus, mysteries’ to be solved….

If you’ve an 8-year-old wanting a real book to really read or a nine year old trying to move on from Wimps and Dorks or slightly older kids who may like historical settings and action and jokes aplenty then this is a great book for them. And wisdom too, Lear, music and love and even some cake…

Vivian is on tour, try and catch her at a Festival…

We have her on 8th Feb so plenty of time to order a copy for £5 and get free postage