For those of us old enough to remember Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's tales of the men from the North, this lovingly done retelling of the classic stories is a reminder of times when children's television was a slower, more plot driven form of entertainment.
When elderly King Knut dies, his son Noggin the Nog must take a bride within six weeks or the crown will pass to his wicked uncle Nogbad the Bad. Noggin falls in love with the image of a princess from the land of the midnight sun and using the great green bird Graculus as his guide, goes to claim Nooka of the Nooks as his bride. But his uncle intercepts the news of Noggin and Nooka's marriage and looks to claim the throne. But as in all good children's stories, there is a happy ending
Using a mixture of performance and puppets, four actors create the land of the North and all it's characters. From the opening of introducing themselves as men from the North, through costume additions and puppets, we are swept away to the land of Nog, and later through the Hot Water Valley to the mountain of the Ice Dragon.
Max Mackintosh is a charming Noggin, Clive Holland a suitably shaky Thornogson (and a hilarious Grunhilde), Anthony Gleave a beautifully booed Nogbad and Nicholas Collett a wonderful Graculus and Groliffe the Ice Dragon. Between them they all play different characters whether in person or puppet with skill and humour.
Director John Wright has taken the original stories and using some video projection from the television show, has created a show which appeals to both children and adults. Whether you know the stories of Noggin or not this is a show which should be seen by all.
- Helen Jones