This physical comedy was commissioned by a Japanese Producer and premiered in Tokyo in 1996.
Originally entitled ‘Thirty Thousand Leagues Beyond the World Beneath the Waves’ the show was devised by Andy Taylor and Gavin Robertson(Thunderbirds FAB) and was inspired by the stop-frame animation techniques pioneered by Ray Harryhausen in movies such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans.
It told the story of Commander Harry Pepper and his faithful companion Tom Allison, whose experimental submarine crashes to the ocean floor where they discover the vast undersea world of Tyreme. Here they battle dinosaurs, living statues, warrior skeletons, Gladiators and mad old sorcerers with an irrational grudge against humanity, before successfully finding their way back to the surface.
The piece also drew heavily from some other classic British films like The Cruel Sea and Above Us the Waves as well as revisiting the popular derring-do novels of Jules Verne and John Buchan and the 1960’s comic strip Tales From the Trigan Empire by Don Lawrence. Most of the music was provided by William Walton – apart from the theme from Zulu which accompanied certain gladiatorial activities in the show. This is particularly interesting because among the chanting of the Germanic hordes at the beginning of Ridley Scott’s film Gladiator, are samples of the Zulu war chant also from Zulu.
Part of the research involved walking around Ray Harryhausen’s private museum in London to see the creatures from his various movies – now mostly in bronze as the originals are gradually eroding being made of rubber, wire and paint. Ray admitted some worry over how we would treat his animations but was reassured on seeing the show at The Purcell Rooms in 1997.
The show was great fun to perform, very tiring (in Santa Fe in 1998 there were oxygen canisters in the wings due to the height above sea level!) and in addition to the shows in Japan it also played the Edinburgh Festival (in 1996 and 1997), and toured to Oman, Lebanon, Brazil, Netherlands, New York, Singapore, Taiwan and others...
In fact, I couldn’t do all the tours and so rather effetely employed a couple of actors Wayne Forester and Rob Thirtle to play the role of Harry Pepper for me.
“Theatre in its most perfect polished form” The List Magazine , UK
“Ingenious comedy and wonderful escapist joy” News Of The World
“The best show of its kind I have ever seen” Zwolle Courrant, Netherlands
“Exceedingly well done and exceedingly clever” The New Mexican, USA
“A tour de force – it seemed that there were so many more than two people onstage” Daily Star , Lebanon
THIS MOVIE IS IN QUICKTIME FORMAT