The World of Beatrix Potter and Where is Peter Rabbit?
When my two children were growing up I often read them the stories of Beatrix Potter. The simply written tales of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter Rabbit supported by several pages of delightful illustrations held their attention. Rabbits wearing human clothes but still living in rabbit holes which had a kitchen and household furniture appeared to capture their imagination.
Peter Rabbit wears a bright blue jacket and shoes and his sisters, mother and other characters such as Cousin Benjamin Bunny, Mr. Benjamin Bunny, Badger Tommy Brock, Fox Mr. Tod, Hedgehog Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and many others were are all similarly attired. By 2008 The Tale of Peter Rabbit had sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and the complete Peter Rabbit series more than 151 million copies which had been translated into 35 languages. Her stories have continued to sell in their millions across the world ever since.
A cinema film called `Miss Potter` starring Renée Zellweger (Beatrix Potter) and her publisher love interest, Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor) generated further interest in the work of Potter who as well as a writer and illustrator also became a conservationist in her later years, using her earnings to purchase land and preserve wildlife habitats.
My children are now grown up but I was still very interested in visiting The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness on Windermere. What a delightful place! The door to the exhibition was on a timer so that each group is given enough time to look around and enjoy a video before the next group is allowed to enter. The exhibits of familiar characters and story lines were fantastic, much thought and detail had been given to the quality dioramas.
“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”
― Beatrix Potter
The displays were very informative, reading about the inspiration behind the stories and how they came to be written was fascinating. I also enjoyed being able to take a stroll around outside looking at Old Mr McGregor`s garden, the sculptures and real vegetable plots which helps provide produce for the in house café/restaurant.
You can’t help but love all the Beatrix Potter characters but I think everyone has their favourite character! I love hedgehogs and do my best to encourage them into my garden so my favourite Potter character is Mrs Tiggywinkle and my wife later confessed to me she had always loved Jemima Puddleduck as a child, and still does!
The gift shop was excellent having a wide range of quality Potter memorabilia on show at competitive prices. I thoroughly enjoyed The World of Beatrix Potter and found it enchanting and magical despite not having any children with me! It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I would highly recommend a visit for young & old alike. If you’re in Bowness on Windermere, it is a must visit!
If you are visiting with young children and have pushchairs/ prams with you or have someone in your group who has difficulties with steps I would suggest you avoid the front entrance and go around the back at the right hand side of the attraction. It is much easier to access the attraction from this ramped entrance.
Having completed a tour of the displays I then went into the Old Laundry Theatre to watch a performance of, `Where is Pater Rabbit? The Old Laundry Theatre is part of the World of Beatrix Potter attraction, but a separate ticket needs to be purchased for the show.
Produced to mark the 150th anniversary of Potter’s birth (28th July 1866 – Kensington, London) and Inspired by the Beatrix Potter stories and characters this unique theatrical production was absolutely splendid. It brought to life many of Beatrix Potter’s favourite characters in a not to be missed visual musical spectacular!
Based on Potter‘s little books and five of her best loved animal characters: Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and the wicked Fox Mr Todd this musical production seamlessly captures Potter‘s poetry, brilliance and humour, whilst staying true to her exceptional illustrations and finely crafted words.
The superb set and props remain truthful to Potter’s illustrative style. Her iconic characters, almost all in puppet form, are skilfully controlled by a vocally competent and physically proficient cast. The voices of the irrepressible Miriam Margolyes and the educated Welsh tones of Griff Rhys Jones are adeptly arranged to bring the words of Potter’s characters to life, when appropriate.
The songs were memorable, generating a chiefly idyllic impression for the world of Beatrix Potter. I loved the elderly Mr McGregor complete with a rather frightening face mask running around the stage looking for the mischievous Peter Rabbit singing, “The best place for a rabbit is in a pie!”
When I was first told that I was going to see a theatrical production based on Beatrix Potter`s Peter Rabbit I imagined it would be a rather sentimental, romantic or cliched adaptation. But this variation was put together by a group of inspired creative minds which included composer Steven Edis (Iris 2001) and the brilliant Alan Ayckbourn (Absurd Person Singular 1975) penning the lyrics. I thought that Ayckbourns lyrics were in keeping with Potter’s humour and unwavering passion for The Lakes.
The production is a real treat for children and adults alike. The five characters were portrayed by very convincing and elaborate puppets reconstructing five of Potter`s most familiar stories. I was absorbed by the movement of the puppets and wonderful collection of songs. It really was a well-staged show.
Beatrix Potter, looking and sounding on occasions like Mary Poppins is a central figure to the stories. She talks to the somewhat trusting and simple Jemima Puddleduck who flies about the stage, as a puppet trying to avoid the clutches of the dastardly Fox Mr Tod and the dreadful badger Tommy Brock. The frog Jeremy Fisher and my favourite, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle the hedgehog also make an appearance during the shows ninety minutes length.
The show succeeds in capturing the spirit of the original stories. The props, on a revolving set, could have been fashioned by Beatrix Potter herself. The children in the audience all around me were either reacting with squeals of delight or trying to hide from the fox!
An excellent half- day out, if you combine a show and a tour of The World of Beatrix Potter. If you have young children take them along too!
Address: Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom, LA23 3BX
Telephone (1): 0844 504 1233
Telephone (2): 015394 88444
“I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.”
― Beatrix Potter
Credit: Where is Peter Rabbit Show – Photographic Images – Steven Barber
Nominated: UK Blog Awards 2017
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