Shadow puppetry has delighted people for about 1,000 years and little has changed. Ripstop Theatre bring Luminous Tales to the Pleasance to share this amazing form with a new generation of audience albeit a small one for this particular performance.
The old woman storyteller does not like the night-time and tells a tale of her attempts to get rid of the night including eating it - I had never considered what the night tastes like before - interlaced with other tales; the crow who stole a bit of day and the girl who played on the moon. She uses fun wordplay; the darkness is full of ‘spooky, hooty things’ and ‘flappy, batty things’.
I have always found shadow puppetry to be an intriguing and clever form. It requires the storyteller to be dexterous; artistic as well as technical. This performance was innovative in its use of two screens, a small one at the front and a big screen at the back of the stage, and several methods of projection with the woman in view at all times, telling and interacting with the story. However despite the wonderful shadowplay, the stories disappointed, they felt too simple for the audience. At the end of the performance the old woman disappeared backstage and no-one applauded for a moment because we all thought she would come back; it felt unfinished.
Granted the show is designed for age four plus, so maybe I should not expect too much but my eight year old son (BBR8) was unimpressed even though I was making positive noises. This is the boy who sat entranced by a shadow puppet version of Aladdin less than a year ago, but I suppose a lot can change. Having said that, I asked a nine year old audience member what he thought and he said it was great. You never can tell.