Travels with a Donkey
based on the writings of Juan Ramon Jimenez
‘A truly magical little Platero.’ **** The Scotsman
‘Backed by a mesmersizing acoustic guitar score… performed by Craig Ogden. And with skillful puppet work from Nino Namitcheishvili operating a truly magical little Platero. Mike Maran meanders slowly but sensitively through thirty stories pausing from time to time to savour the simple things and inviting his audience to do the same.’
‘Incredible attention to detail.’ **** Fringe Guru
‘Perhaps the most stunning part of this production is its use of props. The handmade puppets and a spinning wooden set show an incredible attention to detail, and the use of puppetry enhanced the whole performance, rather than distracting from the storytelling as I feared might have. Platero, the little puppet donkey, is especially charming, and he’s so expressive that he’s really a second actor. The staging is the highlight of the show – especially when the stories revolve around to the season of spring and the whole set is covered in roses.’ Fringe Guru
‘A Joy to watch.’
**** The Stage
Set back a little from the hustle and the bustle of the Royal Mile, Platero Y Yo - staged in a deli on the way to Leith - offers something a little different from most of its competition – straight storytelling, pure and simple.
Mike Maran’s labour of love has been years in the making. It took a collaboration between the Scot, a team of Georgian puppet makers and Australian guitarist Craig Ogden finally to get the show on the road. The result is this charming collection of short stories by Spanish legend Juan Ramon Jimenez.
Maran tells lyrical stories about the lives of a poet and his beloved donkey, Platero, in whitewashed Spanish village Moguer. Meanwhile, Nino Namitcheishvili masterfully manipulates the cute puppet of Platero and carefully places small buildings and props on a rotating table to set the scene.
In terms of staging, it could barely be simpler. But that is precisely what makes this little production such a joy to watch.
Ogden’s classical guitar playing provides a soundtrack to many of the tales, and when Namitcheishvilli adds her voice to the tunes, the love they have all put into the piece is projected straight out into the audience.
This is storytelling at its finest.
A feast for the senses
**** Broadway Baby
Based on an early 20th century poem by Juan Ramon Jimenez, Platero Y Yo tells the story of an old poet and his faithful silver donkey, and the life that they lead in the town of Moguer. The performance is comprised of the poet’s stories that are acted out on a revolving table by puppeteer Nino Namitcheishvili.
The production’s staging is absolutely superb. There is a plethora of handmade scenery that is interchanged for the different scenes; they are all both beautifully detailed and to scale for the real star of the show, Platero. The donkey is operated by Namitcheishvili with superb skill that conveys emotion beautifully through the puppet. Coupled with the poignant narration of Mike Maran, the audience is instantly transferred to the warm Andalucían climes of Moguer. Add into this mix the excellent Spanish guitar music of Craig Ogden and this feast for the senses is truly complete. A scene that was especially striking was where Marran,describing how roses fall on a square in Mogeur, proceeded to cover the table-set in strikingly red petals; a moment of pure beauty!
Platero Y Yo is a show that appeals to all ages: to children through the excellent puppetry that easily portrays the close relationship between a man and his donkey; to adults through the brilliant narrative of Jimenez that paints a vivid picture of life in southern Spain at the turn of the century.