Tuesday, January 25

Donald and Benoit are at Pitlochry Festival Theatre this Christmas

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Prime Theatre are staging new audio play Donald and Benoit as their Christmas treat.

This whimsical and musical tale for children tells the tale an unlikely friendship between a man and a cat that has been brought to vivid life by playwright John Patrick Byrne and adapted by award winning theatre maker Jeanine Byrne.

Benoit lives a life of mundane ordinariness in his Scottish seaside town, but he is feeling very lonely with no mother and his father lost at sea. Enter Donald, a small and mischievous kitten, to cheer him up.

Sound Stage is a new audio-digital venture, designed by theatre makers and leading technologists, giving audiences a unique and engrossing online theatre experience of new plays from the best in British theatre which in the future Pitlochry Festival Theatre hope to produce on stage.

The show feature original songs by Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman and the theatre’s Associate Director and composer Ben Occhipinti.

“I have long thought that John’s delightful children’s book Donald and Benoit would make a wonderful family Christmas show,” says Jeanine Byrne of her adaptation. “I have mentioned this to John on many occasions over the years, but it was only at the end of last year, unexpectedly, he asked me to do the adaptation.

“He felt now was the time and, after my second diagnosis of cancer, John knew I was now dedicating all my spare energies to making work. He originally wrote Donald and Benoit for his twins, Xavier and Honor. As I adapted the book it became apparent to me that Donald and Benoit are in fact the twins. Benoit the upright, honourable, and kind Xavier and Donald the mad cap, funny, spirited Honor.

“I wanted to honour John in this adaptation and have done so by inserting a few ‘echoes’ from John’s other works such as Radio DJ and a nod to Glenna’s famous long-sleeved jumpers – both from Tutti Frutti. After 15 years together, I could hear John in my head as I wrote- it was such a joy.”

The play’s cast features Connor Going as Donald with Ross Baxter playing Benoit. They are joined by David Colvin playing Angus, Richard Colvin as Salty, Keith Macpherson as Jean Kiki, Taggart’s Colin McCredie as Bucky Gavin Mitchell playing Radio DJ, Patricia Panther as Belle, Emilie Patry as Jolie, Kirsty Stuart as Mistress Senga McSporran and Ali Watt as Dorbie.

Every Sound Stage performance will be accompanied by a post-show event for each showing, hosted on Sound Stage, inviting audiences to engage further with the creative teams behind Donald and Benoit.

Donald and Benoit will premiere on Sound Stage from 17th – 19th December. For tickets and further information visit www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com

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