Talk about One Big Weekend. The giants will be moving amongst us very, very soon as Royal De Luxe presents Sea Odyssey – Giant Spectacular in Liverpool, part of the events held to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic.
We admit it, it’s never great seeing the word ‘Liverpool’ emblazoned on the stern of a ship on the fast route to the bottom of the north Atlantic, but after the screenplay-by-numbers dross of ITV’s mini series (note to Julian Fellowes – there are posh people and there are poor people. Get over it), we’re about to show the world how to truly remember a giant of a ship, and a colossally signifiant maritime event. And, by the look of it, it’ll be executed with far more dignity and humanity: this is, let’s remember, an anniversary of something chilling and terrible.
That said, we have to admit it: we’re officially excited. We love a big girl. (She’s even taken over our masthead, above). And, of a weekend, we’ve been known to be partial to a big uncle figure too. Dogs? Well, when it’s as playful as a nine foot hairless Mexican who could resist?
So, what’s it all about?
Royal De Luxe, puppet masters general, have created this rare city-wide spectacular: featuring three of their best-loved characters, covering a huge 23 miles of the city between them. This is the first time they’ve ever brought three giants to the UK, so it’s a bit of a coup.
The story is a touch convoluted: it concerns a stowaway Great Giant onboard the Titanic, en route to meet his daughter, the Little Giant. His voyage meets an untimely end thanks to a close encounter with an iceberg, and he drowns with the ship. When the Little Giant hears the news, she tells the Great Giant’s brother who begins to plan a mission to give his brother a proper burial, and to retrieve a letter the Great Giant had written to his daughter (well, come on, it’s better than the Kate and Leonardo narrative).
This weekend sees the Giant’s brother return, to be reunited with his niece. The event was inspired by a visit to the Liverpool Mersey Maritime Museum when Royal De Luxe’s artistic director, Jean Luc Courcoult, saw a letter from a girl to her Liverpool father who was a steward on the Titanic.
To celebrate the uniqueness of the occasion, there’s even a geysir spouting every ten minutes on The Strand, by the Cunard Building. Odd, really, when The Titanic was a White Star Line ship, and their offices are over the road. But it’s close enough for jazz, we reckon.
The 30 foot Giant Little Girl is the star of the show. This beautiful poplar and lime-sculptured girl takes 22 operators to animate. She’ll wake up in Stanley Park before travelling to Walton Lane, Vauxhall Road, Everton and Anfield. On her travels the Little Girl Giant will explore the areas around both football clubs, and take in the view of Liverpool from the brow in Everton Park.
Her 50 foot uncle, The Giant Uncle (The Diver), will emerge from the waters of the Albert Dock on Friday afternoon. With eyes made from street lights, Uncle weighs in at an impressive 2.5 tonnes. He can move at 1km per hour and needs 30 helpers to operate.
Xolo (pronounced Cho-lo) is the Little Girl Giant’s four-legged friend, who will be following her as she searches for her Uncle around Liverpool. This will be the first time the 9ft tall, 3.5 metre long dog has ever been seen in the UK. Xolo is a Mexican, hairless dog and is believed to have been considered a sacred animal by the Aztecs. He can easily outpace Uncle, with speeds up to 6kph!
Little Girl Giant – 9.30 to 12.30pm and then 4.30 to 7.30pm
Wakes up 9.30am and leaves Stanley Park via Walton Lane, onto Anfield Road, Sleepers Hill, Walton Breck Road, Oakfield Road, Breck Road, arriving at Everton Brow 12.30pm. Following a siesta, she will leave Everton Brow at 4.30pm, turn right onto Heyworth Street, on to Islington via Low Erskine Street, Commutation Row, Lime Street, St George’s Place, Queen’s Square Bus Station, Whitechapel, Paradise Street (Liverpool ONE), Liver Street, onto the Strand, Queens Wharf and arrives at Kings Dock from 7.30pm.
Departs from Albert Dock at 2pm, and walks along The Strand, James Street, Castle Street, Dale Street, left onto Moorfields, Tithebarn Street, Vauxhall Road, Boundary Street, Kirkdale
Road, Walton Road, Salop Street, Tetlow Way, Langham Road, Walton Lane and arrives in Stanley Park from 6.30pm.
Little Girl Giant – 9.30am to 12.30pm and then 4.30pm to 7.30pm
Wakes up at Kings Dock at 9.30am and then travels left on the Strand, up Chapel Street, Tithebarn Street, Moorfields, Dale Street, Castle Street, James Street, crosses the strand to
Mann Island, arriving at the Pier Head at 12.30pm. Following a siesta at the Pier Head, she will wake up at 4.30pm turn right onto Canada Boulevard, onto Mann Island, James Street, Castle Street, Cook Street, Victoria Street, Stanley Street, Whitechapel, Paradise Street (Liverpool ONE), Liver Street, onto the Strand, Queens Wharf, arriving at Kings Dock 7pm where she will sleep.
Uncle – 11.30am to 2.30pm and then 4.45pm to 7.30pm
Wakes up in Stanley Park at 11am, leaves Stanley Park via Walton Lane, onto Anfield Road, Sleepers Hill, Walton Breck Road, Oakfield Road, Breck Road, Heyworth Street, onto Islington via Low Hill and Erskine Street, Moss Street, Daulby Street, Pembroke Place, London Road, arriving at St George’s Hall at 2.30pm. Following a siesta at St George’s Hall, he will wake up at 4.45pm and walk down Lime Street, Renshaw Street, Berry Street, Nelson Street, St James Street, Blundell Street, Queens Wharf, arriving at Kings Dock 7pm where he will sleep.
SUNDAY 22 APRIL
Little Girl Giant and Uncle – 9.30 to 2pm
Wake up at Kings Dock and leave at 9.30am, travel left on the Strand, onto Mann Island, say farewell to the Liver Building, onto Canning Dock where the show’s finale will take place from 12.15pm. The Giants will then leave Liverpool down the River Mersey. And we bet there won’t be a dry eye on the river bank. Heck, look how emotional we got when that big hairy spider sloped off down the tunnel?
It’s going to be BUSY – with an estimated 250,000 people attending. Download a Merseytravel information pack here. Leave the car at home.
For a full map of the route, below is Sunday’s, visit the Sea Odyssey’s official site here. And for the free app, search for Giant Spectacular in iTunes.