We always enjoy a trip to the theatre and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a West End Show or a local production, there’s just something magical about a live performance. When we were recently invited to watch The Pied Piper at Cornerstone in Didcot, I thought it would be the perfect way to start our Christmas festivities. Not only that, but we’d be visiting somewhere new too.
The Pied Piper at Cornerstone in Didcot town centre is running until Sunday 30th December offering a musical adaptation of a classic children’s fairy tale. We’ve only been as far as Didcot Railway Centre before, so hadn’t been aware of the Arts Centre. There are a number of pay and display car parks around the town and we opted to use the new Railway multi story one. It’s a ten minute walk from there to Cornerstone, but it’s very easy to find.
Inside Cornerstone there’s a nice cafe area where you can reserve interval drinks as well as a free cloakroom for your coats. My son hadn’t heard of The Piped Piper of Hamelin story before so he had no idea what to expect. The production has a different take on the classic tale and right from the start we were all so impressed with the cast and set.
We arrive in Hamelin, a village somewhere in Oxfordshire. A town where everyone is perfect and everything is spotlessly clean. A place where children have to do as they’re told and where they aren’t encouraged to be individuals. It’s a place with a secret, one that’s been kept for a hundred years.
The Pied Piper at Cornerstone is a musical delight, and my son sat mesmerised for the whole show. There’s humour, and both Peta (the mayor’s daughter) and Benny, the butcher’s son, give stand out performances in our opinion. That’s not to say that the rest of the cast weren’t very good too.
Benny comes from a long line of butchers, but he really doesn’t want to take on his Mum’s business in years to come, he wants to follow his own path. He starts to question everything. Why is the village terrified of rats and the idea of The Pied Piper and where do the children go, who decide to move away? He has so many questions, but questions aren’t liked in Hamelin, any more than rubbish is. He wants to rebel and tries to persuade the rest of the village children to join him, including his best friend Peta. She’s never questioned her father the Mayor, or her destiny before. She doesn’t want to go against her father, that is until Benny disappears, leaving behind the rest of the children as well as his beloved hat.
Something is wrong, and Peta knows she needs to question what she’s always known to be the truth. She needs to find her friend and find out who The Pied Piper actually is.
I don’t want to ruin the rest of the plot on this production of The Pied Piper at Cornerstone, it’s very clever, and teaches children that they really should play to their own tune and follow their hearts.
We can thoroughly recommend The Pied Piper at Cornerstone in Didcot, it’s certainly one of the best community theatre productions we’ve seen. For more information on prices and seat availability pop over to the Cornerstone website.
disclosure: we were given complimentary tickets in exchange for an honest review