At a time when comic book heroes all have super powers, one Belgian boy reporter stands alone with nothing but quick wits, a tremendous heart and a small white furry companion to help him through his adventures. Matthew Amer attended the first night of Hergé’s Adventures Of Tintin at the Playhouse.
There are no baddies in this tale of daring-do, no figures of hate to boo and hiss; instead, it is a story of courage, belief and the power of friendship. The be-quiffed boy detective sets out on a quest to save his friend Chang who, based on the power of a dream, he believes to be alive in the Himalayas following a plane crash.
As stories go, it is a linear affair, as we follow Tintin on his quest. But it is the innovative, exciting way the story is told in this Rufus Norris-directed production that had yesterday’s young first night audience gasping, laughing and cheering.
The dream sequence with which the show begins, all frenetic action and physicality gives a taste of the inventiveness with which the production proceeds. Plane travel is depicted by five actors and a ladder, the stage becomes a sheer rock face from which to rescue an errant, drunk Snowy, before the mountainside has to be imagined once more as Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock climb, suspended in midair above the stage.
Behind this very Boys Own adventure lies something a little darker. When Tintin (Matthew Parish) finds the plane wreckage – a cross-section of a tragedy – the clean cut, well-spoken hero encounters the dead bodies of those who did not survive who, on the dimly lit stage, haunt the intrepid adventurer as he realises that he cannot save everyone. He can, though, strive to save his friend.
Tintin has friends of his own to aid him. Snowy begins as a real dog, before being swiftly replaced by Miltos Yerolemou who proves to be a hyperactive, psychologically canine companion. Stephen Finegold provides a blustering, brash Captain Haddock, whose antidote comes in the form of spiritual Sherpa, Tharkey (Dai Tabuchi). em>MA