Posts Tagged ‘Complicite’


Roll up! Roll up! Lionboy video blog

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 by Tricycle

Behind the scenes… Complicite’s Lisa Kerr brushes up her circus skills with aerialist Jo Foley, in preparation for her role as Pirouette in Lionboy.

Music – Stephen Hiscock / Editing – Rimi Solloway

Lionboy is a festive family adventure coming to the Tricycle from 17 Dec – 10 Jan, suitable for everyone aged 8 up.


It’s a family affair – an interview with Lionboy author Zizou Corder

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 by Tricycle


Complicite’s family adventure Lionboy is based on a trilogy of books by Zizou Corder. But Zizou is in fact the penname of two authors: mother and daughter writing team Louisa Young and Isabel Adomakoh Young. Here they answer a few of our questions about what it was like writing Lionboy, and seeing Complicite transform the novels for the Tricycle stage…

Complicite’s adaptation of the Lionboy trilogy is back this Christmas at the Tricycle – what are you most looking forward to this time around?

Isabel: I can’t wait to see and meet the new Charlie! It was so funny getting to know Adetomiwa, who played Charlie the last time around, because the character was my alter ego growing up. Now I’ll meet Martins (the new lead) and be face to face with another another version of me, confusing! Also Complicite is such a brilliant company for inventiveness and ideas, so I’m sure more time in the rehearsal room will have yielded some exciting new theatrical wizardry.

The Lionboy story crosses continents and involves everything from a floating circus to a shady global corporation. Where do you get your ideas from?

Isabel: I think it was basically my nutty imagination growing up. We wrote the books when I was very young, seven years old, and I was an only child so I made up a lot of friends and adventures for us to share. In the bedtime stories that came before the book, there were leprechauns and monsters too, and Charlie could speak to all animals. It was chaos!

Louisa: Yup, I nicked them off Isabel. And she nicked them off me. Then I organised them, and she told me where I was going wrong.


Isabel, what was it like becoming an author at such a young age?

Louisa: She loved it! Didn’t you?

Isabel: It was very exciting, suddenly we were traveling to all the countries we’d been published in, and signing books, even going on TV. I remember when we signed the publishing deal they sent a guy dressed as a lion to our house with a whole hamper of Lion bars, that was pretty cool.

Did you learn anything about each other from writing the books together?

Isabel: It was my first time getting to know mum’s professional side I guess – although she wasn’t calling me for meetings in the living room or anything! I’d never read her previous books as they were a bit beyond me, so it was wonderful to see how she created stories. We had one of our first and only disagreements over a character in the book, too. But mostly all that time writing and promoting never felt like work – it was just an adventure!

Louisa: Everything I know, almost, I learnt from Isabel.

Lionboy is set in the near future – ten years on from writing the first book, does the future look any different to you now?

Isabel: A lot more of the world – conscious stuff came from mum of course: I was a bright kid but not that well-informed! I’m learning a lot more about politics and global issues, and I think Lionboy shines a light on a lot of things. If anything, the urgency of the climate issues has grown more than we might have expected, and big Pharma is growing more powerful. I hope the kids that loved and love Lionboy will be motivated to help save our lovely planet.

Lionboy is on stage at the Tricycle Theatre this festive season from 17 Dec – 10 Jan. Click here for more info and to watch the trailer.


The Circus is Coming to Town

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 by Tricycle

Lionboy Company Photocredit MARK DOUET copy

Last year Marcelo Dos Santos adapted the Lionboy trilogy for the stage. This winter the production will be revived at the Tricycle, and Marcelo is here to tell us about what first attracted him to the books and how he brought them to life.

Tell us what Lionboy is about – in two sentences!

Lionboy is the story of Charlie Ashanti, a boy who can talk to cats (and lions) and whose parents are kidnapped by sinister forces. With the help of his cat friends Charlie sets about rescuing them, facing all manner of danger and excitement along the way.

What made you want to adapt the books for the stage? Were there any challenges involved?

Zizou Corder’s Lionboy books are part ‘adventure yarn’, part ‘political fable’. They span continents, and are populated by a huge cast of characters both human and animal. The stories are almost boundless in their ambition. All of which makes them fantastic reads but present challenges in terms of adaptation. Which episodes do you follow? How do you structure it? Where do we finish the story? Oh and what does ‘cat’ sound like?!

How did you solve these challenges?

Rather than showing every moment of Zizou Corder’s novels acted out, I worked with the company to develop a language of storytelling that relies on our audience’s imaginations. When you watch Lionboy, you are being told a story – using just a few props and some circus skills, our ensemble of actors ask you to imagine a circus ship, a futuristic London, a Moroccan forest and more. Having the audience engaged in this way makes the show a truly theatrical experience, like Complicite’s previous award-winning work.

What most attracted you to adapting the books?

Although Lionboy is definitely an adventure story, the issues and themes are very resonant to what is happening in the world now. The books describe the depletion of natural resources and tackle the powerful forces of corporate self-interest. They ask where our responsibilities lie. For me, the real interest and excitement was in Charlie negotiating this dangerous moral labyrinth and learning about the difficulties of the adult world but also realising his own power to effect change.

Complicite has always been about collaboration and the play was partly developed with the company through a combination of improvisation and devising work. So it was also really exciting for me to work with such intelligent and talented actors and directors!

It’s been an adventure in itself getting Lionboy here, I hope you enjoy the ride.

Marcelo Dos Santos

Lionboy is on stage from 17 Dec – 10 Jan. Click here for more information about Lionboy, to watch the trailer and to book.