Edinburgh Fringe 2015
“A heart-warming yet hard-hitting original drama about family, conflict, loss and growing up. Inspired by the classic children’s book The Story of Ferdinand, this is the wonderful and provocative tale of Tom, a single dad, an ordinary man attempting to go with the flow, raise his son, and keep it together in a world of corporate bullying and classroom peer pressure, which is determined to make him fight. Ferdinand will have the whole family cheering as it answers the question, who do you want to be – the bully or the bull?”
Ferdinand is a play based on the popular story – but with a twist. This is a parallel story about a boy called Ferdie and his father, Tom. It’s a play for everyone from age seven upwards and quite simply everyone should see it! Created by the international theatre company Tasty Monster Productions team of Luke Tudball and Heather Bagnall, it is performed by Tudball and directed by Bagnall. The story in this play follows a single parent bringing up a young son, the challenging and poignant questions that arise and the dilemma of how to deal with them. Tudball plays both characters, Tom, Ferdie’s father and Ferdie – using physical acting and storytelling performance styles. Speaking directly to the audience as Tom, Tudball proves himself an excellent actor with warmth, intelligence, a wide emotional range and impeccable timing. As the son Ferdie, Tudball changes his voice and physical demeanour very effectively and switches back and forth as both characters a few times.
How does a parent answer every question from a child that comes up, particularly to a single parent? Tudball and Bagnall have created a platform to open communication on this topic and they feel strongly that theatre is an effective tool, not only for entertaining but also for sharing knowledge and understanding. Bullying is one of the topics in the play which is thoughtfully brought up through the situations young Ferdie gets in, and how the father reacts when he tries to protect his son. Ferdinand being the bull in the children’s story offers a gem of advice to people – “be the bull and not the bully”. Wise words to live by and we can all learn from them.
The father has to work and juggle all the parental needs, which some of us are not aware of, and this play brings a few of them to the fore so we learn to understand each other’s lives more and be better neighbours and human beings. The script is well crafted and expertly performed, nuanced with care and sensitivity – it’s a relatable and sincere play without being over sentimental. Lovely music, sound effects and lighting and a visually attractive set complete the show. This Ferdinand is entertaining, thought provoking, moving and uplifting – you will leave the theatre smiling!