The murder at James Bulger brought a hail of accusations that children today are numbed by screen violence. A young boy brought to tears by a stage production of Peter Pan has fortunately not (yet) provoked cries that the self-same kids are a bunch of cissies. Yet should we be so surprised at that boy’s reaction? Much of Victorian and Edwardian children’s literature (Black Beauty, The Jungle Book) casually dwells on unsettling detail. By the standards of its time, today’s Peter Pan is a picnic. London- based theatre company Opening Night’s new musical stage adaptation of Wind In The Willows, however, plays up the creepiness factor with some sinister stoats.

‘A lot of children’s books are more menacing and dark than you realise,’ says executive producer Stuart De la Mere. ‘Very young children especially are softened up by Disney adaptations. They’re so used to light and fluffy stories.’ Children’s theatre so often targets the under-fives that he produced Wind In The Willows specifically with pre and early-teens in mind, updating the stoats as sharp- suited wide-boys and avoiding cutesy costumes. ‘We didn’t want any furry heads. We worked very closely with the choreographer to come up with convincing animal movements.’ So although Batty twitches and Mole waddles, you can be sure that gratuitous whisker grooming is right out.

Wind In The Willows is a popular

Wind In The Willows: plain sailing tor Opening Night Productions

stage production but many adaptations exclude the early chapters of the book, which were originally written as a series of short stories. Using songs to move the story along and link episodes together, De la Mere was keen to keep the early riverbank scenes. ‘If you look at the piece as a whole, it’s Mole’s story, his growing up, coming back home. We feel the epitome of Wind In The Willows is the calm ot the riverbank.’ (Catriona Smith)

Wind In The Willows, Opening Night Productions, King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 9—Sat 13 April.

Even when it’s cold and rainy outside, our aha-glance guide will see you through. Events are listed by city, then by type ot event. For special Easter activities see Days Out. Kids listings compiled by Ellie Carr.

Activities And Fun

I Back To School Scotland Street School. Museum Of Education. 225 Scotland Street. 429 1202. Tue 16--Sat 20 Apr. 2pm; Sun 2] Apr. 2.30pm. £1. Children under 8 years must be accompanied by an adult. Actress Lesley Robertson becomes Victorian teacher Miss Baxter in this special Easter holiday back-to-sehool as- it-used-to-be experience. Be prepared to participate.


I Hidden lands Cottier Theatre. Hyndland Street. 357 3868. Until Sat 6 Apr. llam. 2.30pm. £2.50 (£1.50). Ages 8

and over. Visible Fictions Theatre Company team tip with Denmark‘s Bltte l-lorse Theatre in a dreamy tale of magical journeys to mysterious shrouded lands.

I Top Secret Show (‘ottier Theatre. Hyndland Street. 357 3868. Sat 13 Apr. 11am. £2.50 (£l.50). Ages 4" 12. The Whizz Kids keep us guessing with a brand new fun-filled show. They'd tell tts the plot only they can't -— it's Iii/i Secret.

Activities And Fun

I Edinburgh International Science Festival Various venues. Until Tue 16 Apr. Box office: 220 6220. See special feature at front of the magazine for more information on Scotland's biggest. most exciting science festival.

I Make-A-PIay-oay Royal Lyceum Theatre. (irindlay Street. 229 9697. Sat 13 Apr. 10.15am—l.15pm (8-10 years); 2.l5--5.l5pmt11- 13 years). £3. Behind- the-scenes chance to create and perform

your own stage ideas using the Lyceum's current production of I’ygnmlimi as a starting point.


I Ouest For A Pirate City Art Centre. Market Street. 529 3993. Until Stilt l2 May. Mon/Tue. Sat l(lam-5.30pm: Wed—Fri l0am—8pm: Sun Ham—5pm. £3.50 (£2); family ticket £9. Plunder the CAC for this world-first exhibition of genuine pirate treasure discovered by real-life treasure hunter Barry Clifford in 1983 on the ocean floor at Cape Cod. 10.000 artefacts will be on display. with the centre's gallery transformed into a pirate ship that will shiver visitors’ timbers by taking them back in time to the ‘golden age' of piracy.

I captain Pugwash Museum Of Childhood. High Street. 529 4901. Until Sat 12 May. Mon—Sat l0am—5pni. Free. From pirates on the ocean waves to pirates on TV. See the original artwork of cartoonist John Ryan. creator of the popular television series and books centred round the exploits of the tub- shaped. original goatee-sporting Captain Pugwash.


I Wind In The Willows King's Theatre. Glasgow. Ticketline: 227 551 l. Tue 9~Sat l3 Apr. 7pm: Wed/Thurs. Sat mat 2pm. £4—£10. See panel.



Until Sat 13 Apr. Events across liast 1.othian. Midlothian. West 1.othian. Edinburgh. Stirling and Clydesdale. For further details and local booking information call the Netherbow Arts Centre. lidinburgh. 013l 556 9579/2647. The puppet and animation peeps are leaving no strings unpulled at this year’s festival with a touring van stacked with lively. colourful shows for children and families bursting otit all over the central belt. Continuing our coverage from last issue we've selected a few choice highlights to help you on your way. Full programme details can be found in the official Puppet And Animation Festival brochure. See Film section for hot tips on the animation front.

I Big Jackie And The Beanstalk Ages 4 and over. In Moving Hands Puppet Theatre land. 'Jackie' is a big brave strapping lad who legs it up the beanstalk to rescue Ma/ey the Chicken and Horace the Friendly (iiant from a bully who's too big for his boots.

Dim/mr ('ur/t lz‘t‘t‘ltttrtge Sat 6 Apr. 10.30am.

C/ture/t Hill ’l'lteutre. Iz'tltIt/ituje/t Mon 8 Apr. 1 lam/2.30pm.

Butt/twng Leisure Centre Tue 9 Apr. 2pm.

Burg/t Hal/x. Lin/it/tgmi' Wed 10 Apr. l0.30am.

I Fish Tales: The Dragongate And Turtle Soup Ages 4 and over. Two liastern tales from Solo Theatre Arts: one about a tiny fish who'd rather be a dragon. the other 'Iitrt/e Soup an underwater reminder of Stranger Danger interspersed with rhymes and songs.

.-l.vxeniltlv Rim/try. Iz’t/irtltrtre/t Tue 9 Apr. Ham/2.30pm.

I Bainforest Workshop Make rainforest puppets Blue Peter would be proud of in this workshop with l’uppet Festival performers Solo Theatre Arts (see above). Toilet rolls. wool. small boxes. cloth and other bits and bobs are welcome. as are participants of all ages. Wear suitable clothing for messy model-making. Axxettt/t/v Run/try, Iz‘t/iIt/tttrltglt Wed 10 Apr. 10am—noon (ages 5—8); 2—4pm.

I The Tragical Comedy 0f Macpunch Ages 7 and over. Shakespeare's Macbeth meets traditional l’tme/i Aml Jmlv in this oft-toured and popular show from Richard Medrington's Puppet Theatre.

Net/terlmu‘ .-lrl.v Centre. lz‘t/iIt/tttIg/t Tth 9-Thurs l 1 Apr. 2.30pm.


Activities And Fun

I Easter Eggcitement Almond Valley Heritage Centre. Livingston. West 1.othian. 01506 4 H957. Centre open Mon—Sun 10am—5pm. £2.20 (£l.l0); family ticket £5.50. liaster activities take place Fri 5—Mon 8 Apr and daily throughout the school holidays. Follow the springtime treasure trail round the Heritage Centre. claim your prize. then hunt for hidden liaster eggs. Inside the main museum you can make your mark on eggs with inks and dyes and make your very own liaster bonnet. as well as enjoying all the usual Heritage Centre attractions including the brand new 'Magic Boots' area which whisks you away on a computer simulated walk. Down on the farm the spring lambs are waiting to be fed. with an outsizc bottle for Angus the calf. and a gaggle of newly hatched chicks and ducklings.





Out now (Mainstream £9. 99)

Ban the phrase ‘l’m bored mum/dad’ from your house forever with the canny purchase of this substantial but slimline blue volume that no self- respecting, peace-seeking parent should be without. Now in its second edition, Anne Shade’s best-selling bible of things to do and places to see in Scotland contains over 2000 ideas to entertain kids between the ages of one and fourteen, covering everything from playgrounds to parks and cafes to campsites, with a simple price guide to help save enough for the ice creams on the way home.

The ‘AIl-Year Guide’ has been compiled with the help of parents from all over Scotland, who were canvassed for their views on the most child- friendly places to visit, eat and stay. The result is an easy-to-use directory that includes all the kid-specific information you need to know creches, baby-changing facilities, children’s portions, etc but can’t usually find. Don’t pack your kit bag without it. (Ellie Carr)

68 The List 5-18 Apr 1996