One of the big hits from the Young Vic’s Walkabout season during the two-year refurbishment of the theatre’s Southwark base (See News, May 2005), Tintin premiered at the Barbican Theatre in December 2005. It’s adapted for the stage by Norris and Scottish playwright David Greig. The title character is played by Matthew Parish.
Tintin, the boy reporter, began his first adventure in 1929 in the Belgian comic strip Le Petit Vingtieme. Created by illustrator Georges Remi, aka Hergé, Tintin became an icon with his trademark crested quiff, plus-four trousers and his faithful dog Snowy. Each year more than three million copies of Tintin’s adventures are sold across 50 countries in 40 different languages.
This classic tale of “friendship and courage” directed on stage “with huge imagination” by Rufus Norris was received with a moderately mixed bag of reviews from the first night critics. But the “beautifully designed” and “stunning” sets by Ian MacNeil impressed, along with “excellent” songs and music by Orlando Gough. Supporting the creative team’s efforts were the leads: Matthew Parish’s “lovely, earnest” Tintin containing “exactly the right freshness and spirit”, and Stephen Finegold's “likeable” and “superb” Captain Haddock. While some critics didn’t quite feel the “tremendous heart” of the show anew, they agreed that Tintin certainly makes for a “lovely, stylish” Christmas treat.
- by Tom Atkins