946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips

After last year’s success of Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Kneehigh return to HOME with 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, which ‘explodes everything we thought we knew about the D-Day landings. With the kind of storytelling sorcery Kneehigh is famous for, the show uses music, puppetry and their unique brand of craziness to tell this tale of war, prejudice and love’.  The production is a collaboration between Emma Rice, currently Artistic Director at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Michael Morpurgo, adapted by them both from Morpurgo’s book The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips.

The story is told through the eyes of 12-year-old girl, Lily Tregenza – portrayed outstandingly by Katy Owen – which allows the story to remain light and family-friendly whilst still keeping the impact of war ever-present. Katy Owen’s performance is feisty, funny and impressively childlike – her daydream of Hitler and Churchill engaging in a skipping contest is one of the best scenes in the show. Ncuti Gatwa also gives a standout performance as GI Adolphus T. Madison, an American soldier sent to carry out training exercises in preparation for the D-Day landings along with GI Harry (and of course to look for Lily’s missing cat Tips).

The stage is both colourful and imaginative, using planes, tractors and even a live jazz band to set the scene. Puppetry is also used engagingly throughout the performance, with chickens, dogs, and of course Tips the cat attached to strings. These different features add another dimension to the show, in part making it more accessible to children, but also as a direct connection to the audience – the band is a constant feature from when you take your seats to the final sing-along. In addition, their lack of appearance in some war scenes helps to evoke a darker tone.

Throughout the performance, the stark backdrop of the Second World War and the difficulty of being an evacuee in an unfamiliar place remain constant themes. Skilfully woven into the show, this serves as an important reminder of the importance of keeping an open, tolerant, and above all humane attitude towards migrants all over the world.



Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

One Response to “946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips”

  1. caroline clegg says:

    Great review of a brilliant show. Shows like this and companies like Kneehigh remind us all what theatre can do if we tell good stories well. Pity The Globe has let the director of this piece go, the creative and inspirational Emma Rice…

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