Olivia Van Niekerk, Osian Meilir and Dom Coffey, Picture: Robert Day


Birmingham Rep Door


It’s ‘penguining’ to look at lot like Christmas as Penguins waddles through The Door at Birmingham’s REP. There may be ice skating in Centenary Square but inside the theatre we step into New York’s Central Park Zoo and dive into a love story between two male Chinstrap penguins called Roy and Silo.

Created and directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney, this heart-warming true story magically comes to life as we join zoo keeper Olivia Van Nierkerk for feeding time. The set designed by Sabine Dargent allows dancers Osian Meilir and Dom Coffey to playfully pirouette from one ice block to the other eating fish and swimming in the water.

A group of school children in the audience were delighted when both penguins played hide and seek, scratched their backs on the rocks and ruffled their feathers.

The use of different coloured ties to represent gender is one simple way the relationship is made clear and when Roy and Silo discover all the other nests have eggs in them, they find a rock to try to compensate.

The report that was published first in The New York Times became inspiration for the book And Tango Makes Three where Roy and Silo are given an egg to hatch and how they then are responsible for a real chick. The picture book is included in the No Outsiders programme at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock which caused protests in the summer over same-sex partnerships and gender identity being taught to children.

Presented by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Cahoots NI and Prime Theatre, the dance and movement is choreographed by Carlos Pons Guerra and Patsy Browne Hope, alongside music by Garth McConaghie.

What do you call a happy penguin? A Pen-Grin, and that’s exactly how you feel at the end of this creative 45 minute production.

On at Birmingham Repertory Theatre till December 14th, visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk or call the box office on 0121 236 4455.

Emma Trimble


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