Review: The Green Children of Woolpit, by Laura Norman and Kirsty Thorpe, Red Rose Chain, Avenue Theatre

The Green Children of Woolpit by Laura Norman and Kirsty Thorpe, staged by Red Rose Chain

The Green Children of Woolpit by Laura Norman and Kirsty Thorpe, staged by Red Rose Chain - Credit: Archant

The Green Children of Woolpit is a fascinating Suffolk folk tale from the 12 Century retold by Red Rose Chain. Two green children appear from nowhere in a wood. They are found by a grumpy old man who, initially hostile, becomes more accepting, caring and transformed through his contact with them. The show has been devised by Laura Norman and Kirsty Thorpe for a specific audience of children with various learning disabilities.

Tony Carrick as The Old Man in The Green Children of Woolpit by Laura Norman and Kirsty Thorpe, stag

Tony Carrick as The Old Man in The Green Children of Woolpit by Laura Norman and Kirsty Thorpe, staged by Red Rose Chain - Credit: Archant

I saw this show back in May and noted that Lyn Gardner, national theatre critic, had that very week, written an article headlined: “Quality is crucial for disability arts: poor work fails artists and audiences.”

Six months later, Red Rose Chain’s The Green Children is back by popular demand and absolutely remains a testament to the imaginative power of theatre- for all audiences.

The sensory experience of the show acts as its own narrative gently creating a welcoming atmosphere. We are invited to touch, taste and smell within a colourful cocoon that is the world of The Green Children. A permission to believe is granted to all of us in the audience. The day before, I was told, an audience member took over, became a King and created a new scene. Today, audience members danced and danced, one becoming a butterfly. She nimbly darted around the space adding to the magic. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. It was simply beautiful to watch.

This time round, I feel more sensitive to Tony Carrick’s sincere, natural performance as The Old Grandfather. He knows he still has lessons to learn, and regaining his “sense of wonder” seems to be the most precious gift the Green Children give him.


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The Green Children reminds us that kindness and acceptance makes us more human, not less and that hope will forever be more powerful that hate.

Jackie Montague

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