Lost Props

The sweetness and innovation of this young children’s puppet show was overshadowed by some of the flaws in its production. The actors made it clear that it was their first ever production of the show so, despite its early shortcomings, it’s very likely to improve as they grow into it. To start with, the good bits: The majority of the show was performed in mime and accompanied by a piano. This created a really nice atmosphere and meant that focus was mostly on facial expression and movements, which is particularly appealing to kids. The puppet had a lovely, expressive face which I think the children responded really well to. The set and props were bright and stimulating and were effectively used for different purposes, like a cart which doubled as car and boat. The visual quality of the show was ace.

In terms of action, the puppet was handled very well by the main actor and puppet-master. There were some nice bits early on which called on the helpful little audience members to sort coloured paper in to different boxes. This was certainly one of the sections which kept the children most engaged.

However, the kids didn’t seem enthralled the whole time. The story was a little slow and lacked the excitement and diversity that’s required to keep sproglets fully attentive. The songs performed in the show were not very catchy or exciting for the children and the signing wasn’t very good. That aspect of the show certainly needed a lot of work.

For a puppet show to be really good, it’s also important that the adult members of the audience enjoy it too (they are, after all, half the people watching and the ones dishing out the money). The show was a bit of a let-down in that respect, largely because the storyline was really quite repetitive. This can be important for children, but even they seemed a little uninterested when a pretty much identical scene was acted out for the third time.

On top of this, the plot was quite trite: a little boy gets lost and a man helps him on his journey to find home. At least in Nemo they were fish, with stoner turtles and vegetarian sharks along the way. This story was sweet but needed to have something slightly off kilter to make it uniquely enjoyable.

It did show a lot of promise and had the visual and conceptual foundations to make it a real spectacle. However, the rough edges and slow pace meant that big and small audience members never fully engaged in the fantasy voyage.

Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

A puppet has been left behind. The cleaner must find his company. Starring Ben from Long Nose Puppets’ Penguin and actor-musician George Williams. A wheelie-big-bin adventure.

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