Little Angel Theatre 24 Dagmar Passage N1 2DN To 27 July 2014.
11am & 2pm.
Baby Friendly performance 27 July 11am.
Runs 50min No interval
then Tour to 26 April 2015.
TICKETS: 020 7226 1787.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 25 July.

A pleasant trip to fairyland.
At the bottom of the garden, or wherever they crop-up, Amelia Buttersnap FSI (Fairy Scene Investigator) is eager to come along and investigate fairies. She’s read books on them, she’s written a book on them. But, expert though she is, she’s never actually seen one.

If that’s a satire on armchair experts it might be a mite subtle for 3+ audiences, but it makes for a good start to Ripstop Theatre’s show. Similarly, the way the materialistic late 19th century developed a balancing act of the supernatural through fake fairy photos is reflected in the Victorian appearance of much of Amelia’s equipment. Her fairy magnifier and camera, even aspects of her clothing, would make her the model of a late Victorian or Edwardian female explorer.

Never mind the history; it looks good. Anyway, it’s her cat that leads her, Alice-like, to the cream of this adventure in a shadowy wonderland where various creatures take her to the fairy demesne. The place is shadowy not because of any darkness, for it depends upon light, and the name of Amelia’s cat Tibbles – clearly known and respected here – is an open sesame to assistance throughout the fairy lands.

But shadow puppetry is Ripstop’s speciality, which fits neatly with the context of Amelia’s equipment. Creatures and landscapes appear on a screen while performer Zannie Fraser turns from character to unseen puppeteer. And it’s here the main part of the production lies.

It’s a friendly piece throughout. Fraser’s Amelia tends to talk to young audience members rather in the manner of the age her production visibly represents, but the story is told at a pace quick enough to keep young interest without losing the sense of what is happening, and the quest for the fairy palace has its own narrative pulse in what becomes, effectively, an animated picture-book story.

And there’s a neat visual trick with the book Amelia wrote before her experience and which she proudly shows everyone. A fairy steals the words and the printed pages become blank, before finally being restored. In front of our eyes. How’s it done? Fairy magic, presumably.

Amelia Buttersnap: Zannie Fraser.

2014-07-27 09:00:49

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