based on the book by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury adapted by Peter Glanville and Barb Jungr music and lyrics by Barb Jungr.

Runs 45min No interval. Little Angel Theatre 24 Dagmar Passage N1 2DN To 21 July 2013.
10am & 1pm Wed, Thu.
1pm & 5pm Fri.
11am 1.30pm 3.30pm Sat (except 6, 13 July at 11am only) Sun.
Baby Friendly Performances 11am Sun.
Runs 45min No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7226 1787.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 21 June.

A show for the young well wroth searching-out.
It started as a poem, Michael Rosen reciting a story notable for its onomatopoeia, with a family splash sploshing through water and squelch squerching through mud. And taking what life, with all its elements, throws at them: cold river, dark forest or swirling snow.

Then, the huge beast they encounter is very different from cuddly teddy-bears, sending them straight home. The feeling of relief at being safely back is marred by realising they’ve left the front-door open.

A family outing, the adventure and challenges of natural terrain, the difference between the perception of bears and the reality: that’s a lot in a barely a hundred lines.

Then there’s the atmospheric scenery, created from Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations. And Lyndie Wright’s puppets recreating Oxenbury’s style for Peter Glanville’s stage adaptation plus Barb Jungr’s attractive music, for voices plus instruments including guitar, flute and trombone.

It’s played on a stage framed like a house, with grassy knoll, river, forest and snow created at window-ledge height. Among the well-characterised puppets eager baby Bertie, for whom everything’s an adventure, happily popping-up where least expected in the long grass, is hilarious, delighting the 2+ audiences (under-2s are allowed in for Sunday morning ‘Baby Friendly’ showings).

Expertise in making and handling puppets is taken as read in Little Angel shows. And this is one of their loveliest, combining something that’s less a story than a series of incidents, with a sense of adventure being challenged by reality (aka a great bear) and requiring a sudden change of plan.

Rosen’s rhythmic language is expressed unobtrusively by the four performer/puppeteers, and there’s singing from them too. And a series of delightful animals, from the family dog realistically sniffing the grass, or the two ducks gloating when they’ve seen him off from their pond, to the owl stuck remote in high branches.

And of course, the bear. He may alarm the family up-close, but there’s feeling for him when, repulsed from his attempt to enter the house, he sits alone under the moon. “Ah,” said a young voice in front of me, showing this Bear Hunt is something to treasure.

Performers: Lowri James, Jess Mabel Jones, Gilbert Taylor, George Williams,

Director: Peter Glanville.
Designer: Simon Plumridge.
Lighting: David Duffy.
Puppets: Lyndie Wright.
Assistant director: Jennifer R Lee.

2013-06-25 11:57:32

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