THE 3 LITTLE PIGS To 24 December (31 December in Ipswich).



The Albany Douglas Way Deptford SE8 4AG To 24 December 2010.
11.30am & 20m
4pm 22 Dec.
Runs 55min No interval.

TICKETS: 020 8692 4446.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 11 December.

Pigs at bay in pleasant adventure.
How many little pigs? Apart from the three on show in Albany, Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company have another porcine threesome in a parallel universe (i.e. Ipswich – at the New Wolsey Studio 22-24; 27-31 Dec 11am & 2pm)). On the basis of this Deptford outing, the duo of trios offers a light, bright story for 2-7s, mixing three puppet pigs with two live actors, one portraying a none-too-successful wolf, who rather engagingly mixes a traditional carnivorous appetite with concern over what his dental hygienist would say about him eating a biscuit.

Apart from one refusenik – not unusual among very young audiences – loudly declaring a preference for returning home, the Deptford audience seemed attentive. So, in a not too large space, it’s a shame the production has clamped head-mikes on performers Laura Mugridge and Tom Frankland; the effect detaches voice from person and limits the intimacy of a performance based on three quite small puppets.

Nor is much made of the opening, where the three are expelled from the family home by a mother who doesn’t want to live in even a metaphorical pigsty. But once the siblings, distinguished by their heights, are on the road and trying to build a house for themselves from materials of increasing suitability and resistance to wolfish assault, the story moves happily along.

Levels of peril, which tend to focus on one sibling at a time, are never prolonged, and the mood remains optimistic, helped by music and bright, pastoral colours recalling 1970s children’s TV – clear shapes decorating walls in the family home, and ingenuity in constructing miniature buildings atop the wall of this home for the pigs’ own attempts at house-building.

There’s a lot of innocent fun to be found in Stuff and Nonsense’s show. If it might be demanding for some of the very youngest in the age range, that’s not because of the material, or the friendly performance style, more a matter of whether all two-year olds can accept the basic contract of theatre, and its sensory impressions. Those who can, like their slightly older fellow-spectators, will find themselves enjoying the piece.

Performers: Laura Mugridge, Tom Frankland.

Director/Puppetry: Marc Parrett.
Designers: Marc Parrett, Tomasin Cuthbert.
Sound: Gwen Scott.

2010-12-22 00:14:18

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