No wimping out on the bully message

21st June 1996 at 01:00
Is bullying endemic among children and, if so, how do you change the climate that feeds it? The Half Moon Young People's Theatre tries to shift young audiences' attitudes through humour and acutely observed relationships and dilemmas in its production of Wimp! by S?ren Skjold, translated from the Danish by Sarah Argent.

Aimed at nine-year-olds and above, it follows the metamorphosis of young Palle, branded as a wimp by the neighbourhood bully and quivering in his boots at the prospect of a confrontation. What gets him through the bad times and builds his confidence is the support, friendship and boxing lessons of old friend Roland and new girl Henriette, who teaches him, above all else, to have faith in himself.

This is not a cosy world full of facile solutions. Kids victimise each other, mothers are abused, fathers get bashed by angry sons. But underlying this well-crafted, competently acted play is the message that you don't have to be a fighter to conquer fear, to know yourself and to stand up to aggression. In the end, Palle tells the bully to get lost. And he does.

Reva Klein Wimp! tours schools until July 19. For information and bookings, ring Nichola at the Half Moon on 0171 265 8138

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