book, music and lyrics by Barb Jungr.

Tour to 30 April 2011.
Runs 45 min No Interval.
Review: Martin Franks 19 March 2011 at The CoreLab, Corby Cube

Classic Small Children’s Theatre, though the story needs tightening.
How fabulous that communities are still building new theatres. And the theatre at Corby in the new modernist town hall (The Cube) is a brave entry into the East Midlands scene – a 450 seater main house and a 100 seater studio.

And how lovely to see the studio theatre full for a performance for 3+ and accompanying adults by one of the country’s top puppetry companies.

It’s thrilling to see the gorgeous highly professional puppets of the Little Angel Theatre – the slinky main character caterpillars, the slow snails, the wise beetle, the snappy grasshopper. The children giggle and shout as the puppets perform their sometimes balletic moves across their small-scale landscape – ideal for the age group. And when the pupae glow in the dark and then the full blown ‘Flutterbys’ are born the children are awestruck with the beauty.

What doesn’t work so well is the story. Providing they engage with the characters, even small children respond well to dramatic tension and the story arc. Hamish and Fiona’s inability to get together after the quest should be played for all it’s worth. The sudden appearance of a ‘museum’ just so that we can see the exhibited dead butterfly wings seems odd and unplanted. I’d also love to see something about insects for the children to take away – inspire them and send them home to relive the experience.

But this is beautiful theatre, and if the company can just sort the dramatic tension (and tart up the set a bit with a little black paint – for children it must be the best) then this is classic young children’s theatre.

Performers: Robin Beer, Tim Pont, Andrea Sadler.

Director: Seonaid Goody.
Designer: Anne Tilby.
Lighting: David Duffy.
Puppet Designer: Roger Lade.

2011-03-23 21:03:44

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