This is a wonderfully charming adaptation of Elisa Kleven’s book The Paper Princess, brought to life with live music, puppetry and audience participation. Upon entering, children and adults alike are given a small cut-out paper prince or princess – choices available – and asked to decorate them with glitter and a whole array of other shiny things. Not only were the children kept entertained by the feathers and glitter but the adults too took decorating their royal paper children quite seriously. Do not fear, there are enough glue sticks for everyone.
Leaving our creations to dry, the audience is ushered into an adjoining room for a spot of puppeteering and live music, played by a particularly talented violinist. The delightful story of the paper princess is told from the small puppet theatre, decked out with lovely hand painted sets and the children have their own special area at the front of the theatre to watch up close. Monkeyshine Theatre clearly have a talent for children’s shows; during the performance there was barely a noise from their young critics, minus some giggles and gasps of awe at the paper princess’ adventures. Even I felt a little pride when the audience’s own paper royals were used in the show; ‘Mum look, I can see mine!’
Set in a small, intimate room, there is a cosy glow illuminating the theatre, which pleasingly also has its own tiny lighting scheme. It’s a wonderful atmosphere for children and adults alike to enjoy. The puppet master absolutely added to this intimacy with her skilful storytelling and ability to include the children in the performance, simultaneously keeping them entertained and creating a fantastic story through her puppets.
The show is advertised as 45 minutes but this allows for as much time as needed to make the audience’s paper creations as sparkly as possible, so this time may vary. My group were apparently skilled gluing artists, thus cutting the experience short to 30 minutes. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it was a fast half hour and felt just right. My attention span is sometimes short, let alone the host of four year olds who the show was orchestrated for.
Run by a small company in a small room for small people, The Paper Princess was an entertaining and charming experience. Definitely recommended for all who love gluing, storytelling and puppetry, in particular to those under the age of 7.