Puppet &Set Design: William Aubrey-Jones and Peter John-Morton
Composer: Carly McConnell
Director: Carly McConnell and William Aubrey-Jones
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
Gentle and thoughtful, The Night Of The Big Wind tells the tale of a young boy caught up in a terrible storm when the tiny fishing village he lives in is hit by it. With a skilfully made and manipulated puppet representing the boy and the piece entirely without dialogue, this ambitious production succeeds in communicating the story through music and movement alone.
Although very pleasing to watch, the pace of the play is very slow and it takes a long time to get going. The Irish village is well established, with the cast preparing for the storm by rearranging the set and introducing characters, but the storm occurs a long way in to the piece. William Aubrey-Jones and Lucy Western raise a hearty laugh with some audience interplay involving a number of oil lamps, while a stone-faced Peter John-Morton looks on with distain. Carly McConnell and Ceri Howells provide the majority of the music (which McConnell also composed), full of celtic cadences and lilting melodies that occasionally give way to an upbeat reel. Evocative and atmospheric, it is the score that replaces dialogue in this play, so in essence represents the words, hopes and thoughts of the villagers.
The storm itself is perfectly portrayed, with wind blowing and set rattling, utilising all the pieces that make up the village. The puppeteers create entirely lifelike movements and responses in the young boy, and William Aubrey-Jones’ gives a notable performance as his father, all supported by vocal and instrumental underscoring from the cast. Certainly enjoyable despite its slow pace, this is a piece that suits all ages and has no language barrier, and therefore is a perfect production for the Fringe.