Winning article for the week ending 14 February
Performing Paper Dolls
The Paper Dolls is a puppet show based on the Julia Donaldson book of the same name. It is the story of a girl called Rosie who makes some paper dolls and imagines they go on exciting adventures. The production was aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 8 and was performed at The Little Angel Theatre in Islington.
The puppeteers both moved the puppets very eloquently and were enchanting to watch. There was a wide variety of puppets used in the show. From big rag dolls for the main characters, rod puppets for a bus and some wooden pigs, through to a glove puppet for a crocodile. What was most interesting was that every puppet was a toy that you would find in any child’s bedroom. As one parent commented after the show, “It was brilliant”.
It was very refreshing to watch a performance that didn’t depict the use of, or in fact, rely on, any modern technology. The production could have been staged exactly the same way 50 years ago, as there were no videos or special effects. The whole thing just felt extremely natural and relaxed.
One particularly notable element of the production, was the choice of music. There was soothing instrumental music throughout most of the dialogue, but also simple songs with lyrics were repeated so the audience could join in. One popular classic that featured was “Row, row your boat” which got all the audience singing along. In another successful attempt to keep their audience engaged, the performers swayed up and down the theatre, holding the puppets high in the air, so everyone could see them. This encouraged many little hands to try and grab them. There was lots of audience participation – for example, children shouted words that began with different letters of the alphabet, when asked. There were also unprompted cries of “That’s not very nice!” when Rosie’s brother acted unkindly towards her.
The theatre itself is a hidden gem, it is small and home-like with cushioned benches. There are designated child seats which have the best views of the stage and for very young children, booster seats are available. The show only lasted 45 mins which seems short for the average play, but was just right for the attention spans of the young audience.
I would thoroughly recommend you book tickets for this magical experience.
Article written by Georgina Featherston, click here to read it on our newspapers.