Everyone loves to see the little guys win

The fantastic Stuff and Nonsense returns to The Salberg in February half term as part of Theatre Fest West. We asked performers Katie Underhay and Peter Morton to tell us more about the production.

3-little-pigs

Can you tell us a little about 3 Little Pigs?

Katie: Tall Pig, Middle Pig and Tiny Pig need to build themselves a house, but they can’t seem to catch a break from the wolf! There are only two of us in the cast, so we play and puppeteer multiple characters throughout the show. It gets pretty frantic swapping puppets and changing bits of costume and I think that adds to the frenetic vibe of the whole thing!

Peter: 3 Little Pigs is the story that you expect but told in unexpected and satisfying ways with an ending that gets the whole audience huffing and puffing. It is a show that revolves around the characters; the audience falls completely in love with Tall, Middle, and Tiny Pig and even have a soft spot for J. Arthur Wolfington Smythe. 3-little-pigs-image

Why do you think the story remains so popular with young people and families?

Peter: It’s a tale that has stood the test of time, the concept is beautifully simple: 3 pigs building houses to keep away from the wolf. Like all good old stories with these facts the narrative can be woven by the teller who can embellish and add detail and create a different ending to suit their audience. Everyone who comes to the show has their own preconceptions of the story and it’s fantastic to play with the audience on this.

Katie: It’s one of those stories where the plucky, unlikely heroes beat the big scary baddy and I think that resonates with everyone – whether you’re a 6 year-old relating it to a bully from school, or a 30 year-old thinking of standing up to a co-worker who has been walking all over you!

Everyone loves to see the little guys win. And this show in particular is amazing with families. I think the parents are expecting to have to ‘sit through’ a baby-show, but within the first minute, they’re laughing themselves and you can tell that they are really surprised and relieved! We talk to the audience during the show and you can see that 2, 4, 9 and 60 year olds are all having an amazing time which is so nice as a performer.

What do you enjoy most about working on productions using puppetry?

3-little-pigs-alternative-2Katie: I’ve always loved puppets. It was a fantastic realisation when I finally worked out you could work with them as a career! I love creating characters and as an actor you’re pretty limited because you know that your character is always going to look a bit like you do. But when somebody gives you a chubby little pig puppet and that’s your basis for a character it opens up so many ideas you probably wouldn’t have thought of! This production is quite unique because we play the same characters as puppets and actors, so the voice and movement we create for the puppet also has to translate to the way I act the character. It’s an unusual challenge but always keeps you on your toes. I’ve performed in 3 Little Pigs over 150 times and I keep thinking of new ways to make my acting versions of characters more similar to the puppeteering!

Peter: Puppets are a fantastic way to present the characters in this story. Whereas an actor is a person who we all know is someone who isn’t really “Tall Pig” (they are “Peter the touring actor who exists outside the show”), the Tall Pig puppet is Tall Pig. The puppets are created to play the role and therefore the audience sees only the character in the show. I love working with puppets because of the investment the audience can have in a piece of foam and cloth. There is no thought in the audience’s mind that, as the wolf goes to eat tiny pig, that it is just a puppet and doesn’t really matter! No, IT’S TINY PIG!!! WHO’S GOING TO SAVE HIM!!?

3 Little Pigs is in The Salberg on Monday 13 February 2017 as part of Theatre Fest West with performances at 1pm and 3.30pm. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit www.salisburyplayhouse.com.

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