STAGE REVIEW: The Emperor’s New Clothes @ Northern Stage Online | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: L-R: Bob Nicholson Jeremy Bradfield & Hannah Goudie-Hunter in The Emperor’s New Clothes by Pamela Raith Photography

For many of us in the North East, a family outing to the theatre to see a pantomime is an integral part of our festivities. This year, of course, everything is different and Northern Stage is bringing its Christmas show to your living room with its brand new festive take on Hans Christian Andersen’s literary folktale, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Written nearly 200 years ago, this enduring story is perpetually relevant; a tale for times like these, about vanity and power and the courage to call out our leaders and tell it like it is. In this stylish version written by Laura Lindow, chancers Magus Scarper and Broderick Chase (played by Hannah Goudie-Hunter and Bob Nicholson) happen upon an opportunity to fool King Shirley into believing they are the very best fashion designers in the kingdom. It’s the greatest con of all time. Do they have what it takes to pull it off?

As I’d expect from Northern Stage, it’s the set that delights me. Yes, the script is tight, cleverly worded and expertly delivered; the choreography skilfully executed; the singing and music superbly performed. But I’m a clothes lover, you see, and the rows of outfits hanging across the stage for the characters to weave in and out of view throughout set the scene perfectly. I too want to live in a “town of people dressed as their personalities allowed”. And I want to meet Mouse, the super cute puppet girl brought to life so well by Goudie-Hunter, who possessed more wisdom than all the other characters combined. She’s the hero of the piece for me.

Do be sure to download the digital programme for this show. It’s well worth it. That’s an evening’s entertainment right there, as you get to go behind the scenes of the filming of Northern Stage’s first-ever virtual Christmas show, watch interviews with the writer, cast and technicians, and delve into the history of this much loved cautionary tale.

A Christmas show depends on its audience to bring the vibe and without that applause and laughter and heckling, it simply isn’t the same. So that’s down to you: gather the family together, prepare the drinks and snacks, take time to learn the song in the programme, turn off your phones and immerse yourself in this highly entertaining musical comedy stage production.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is streamed free of charge online. See Northern Stage’s website for details

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