Review: The Magic Fishbone

When you think of Red Rose Chain you think of their fantastic Theatre In The Forest productions, however this year the theatre company have produced their first ever festive offering, in the form of Charles Dickens’ short story, The Magic Fishbone.

Artistic director and writer Joanna Carrick has expanded upon this little known tale, and the result is something rather special.

The Magic Fishbone is the story of the young princess Alicia and how her family are down on their luck. Struggling to cope with mounting debts, 18 younger siblings, a mother who has taken to her bed and a father who only seems to take care of himself, Alicia is gifted a magic fishbone. This gift will grant her one wish which, if requested at the right time and for the right thing, will come true. But how will Alicia know what to wish for and when?

Set in the magnificent Christchurch Mansion, Red Rose Chain have created a production full of magic and mystery, a mixture of fantasy and reality as you learn about Alicia’s story and how she uses the toys in her dolls house to express her feelings.

Anna Doolan brings a child like quality to the piece as Princess Alicia; the talented actress makes the character both likeable and believable. Scott Ellis is a joy to watch as he switches parts from the venerable Percy Pickles to the pantomime dame-like Mrs Flancrust.
Joel Johnson takes on a variety of parts, most memorable Clyde, the Scottish salmon carcass, whose broad accent and quick wit had the audience in fits of laughter.

Jimmy Grimes is the man behind the puppets and in this production they were fantastic, with the snarling growling Dogfish, the fishmongers dog, making a great contrast to the likeable Clyde and his memory problems.

The Magic Fishbone is a lovely story that is fitting for the time of year, with both humour and a hidden meaning that befits any Christmas tale and one that can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike.

As with all Red Rose productions The Magic Fishbone is sure to be popular, so be sure to book your tickets fast to see this brilliant show.

• The Magic Fishbone is playing at Christchurch Mansion until Sunday 13th January 2013. To book tickets contact the Box Office on 01473 603388.