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Mr Monkey sees Edmund the Learned Pig at the Royal Exchange Studio

Venue : Royal Exchange Studio
Start date: 9th October 2013
End date : 26th October 2013
Visit date : 10th October, 2013
Mr Monkey looking at the Edmund the Learned Pig poster
Mr Monkey trotted along to the Royal Exchange Studio to see Edmund the Learned Pig.

Mr Monkey with the Bearded Lady (Sally Clay) and Mr Mesmo (Kinny Gardner) before the performance
Edmund the Learned Pig is an unpublished poem by Edward Gorey put to music by Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lilies and then expanded into a play (with songs) by Mike Kenny.

The ringmaster of a down-at-heel circus steals a pig for dinner, only to find that the pig can talk, read and write, and answers to the name Edmund. What circus wouldn't want a talking pig on its staff, especially if its memory man can't remember what colour his caravan is, and its aerial artiste won't leave the ground? The meeting changes the fortunes of Edmund and everyone at Barry Bonaparte's Travelling Circus.

The play was created by three theatre companies - the most Mr Monkey has seen on one stage at one time, so far - the Royal Exchange, Fittings Multimedia Arts and Krazy Kat Theatre. The performance is signed throughout in BSL by the actors, and the signing is integrated as part of the action.

The human cast perform excellently, but Mr Monkey found that Edmund the Pig was the most compelling character, due to Anthony Cairn's puppetry skills. Mr Edmund is indeed a natural actor, as can be seen in the interview available on the Royal Exchange website.

Martyn Jacques' music enhances the action and was excellently performed by members of the cast led by the Bearded Lady (Sally Clay).

As the play is inspired by Edward Gorey it's not a story of unending joy and happiness throughout - indeed, it does start with a very Goreyesque rain- and wind-swept funeral. There are moments of sadness, horror and joy, but, mostly, lots of laughter for all ages.

Overall, Mr Monkey thinks that Edmund the Learned Pig heart-warming and brilliantly performed play in which a couple of hours fly by, and recommends it to everyone.

Edmund the Learned Pig runs until 26th October 2013.

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