GULLIVER’S Travels will be the next offering from TNT Theatre Company next month.
Jonathan Swift’s satirical story, often mistaken for a children’s tale, will be staged at the Gaiety Theatre on December 6-8.
Director Paul Stebbing explained: ‘George Orwell called Gulliver’s Travels one of the best 10 books ever written and I have to agree.
‘It looks at what humanity is and doesn’t like what it sees - but it does so with such wit and warmth and above all great story telling. The book has never been out of print. Its abiding images - the Giant tied down by little people, the talking horses, the flying islands of mad scientists, the wild Yahoos have passed into popular myth. But it has usually been dumbed down for the stage or by film.’
He explained: ‘This story appeals to children but it is not a children’s story. It is almost as if the establishment wished to protect itself from the harsh satire and profundity of the original by pretending it is a children’s book.
‘So TNT seek to rescue the original, update its satire and reveal the work for what it is - and still keep it accessible. That’s the challenge - so far we seem to be doing that given the response across two continents from schools to critics.’
This production combines acrobatics, dance skills and stilts with specially-composed music by Paul Flush with satirical text.
Paul said: ‘I also wanted the satire updated where it mattered - Swift parodied the science, finance and politics of his own day - we aim at our modern targets within his framework.’
Far from being new to this show, this is the second revival of the original TNT production which was also toured around the world for 10 months.
‘The audiences were and are hugely varied,’ said Paul, ‘We’ve just returned from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Korea, Malta and Latvia and then move on to Estonia, Poland and Madrid before we arrive in the Isle of Man.
‘We have played everywhere from school gyms to major theatres in Eastern Europe. In all modesty the response has been uniformly excellent because the play appeals so widely and is so entertaining to watch - almost like a circus at times and full of humour but at the same time hitting a few raw nerves.’
The TNT cast are experienced professional actors while Paul has been artistic director for TNT since 1980 and for ADG Europe since 1993.
He said: ‘Together these form the most widely touring theatre in the world - I don’t know how many plays I have directed but at least 12 this year including productions in Chinese and Spanish.’
TNT are also touring King Lear in Asia at the moment and Brave New World in Germany and Christmas Carol in Italy.
All these productions have been to the Isle of Man or are coming here.
‘It’s a busy life with lots of travel,’ said Paul, ‘We break boundaries, for example this was the first production of King Lear ever in the original in either Vietnam or Cambodia.’
So what should audiences expect from the theatre company when they return to the island next month?
‘They should expect an evening of infectious laughter, spectacular skills, hummable tunes, caustic satire with dash of profundity and the first murderous pantomime horse in theatre history,’ trilled Paul.
He concluded: ‘We look forward to returning to the Isle of Man - in the summer of 2013 we have been commissioned to produce a new play about Illiam Dhone so we will be seeing a lot more of the island and hope to bring our unique style to bear on this great saga of the island’s past.’
The shows will start at 7.30pm each night with tickets costing £20 (concessions available). They are available from the box office on 600555 or online at www.villagaiety.com