Suspense: London Puppetry Festival 2013

Posted on November 7, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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The floating Puppet theatre Barge in Little Venice


I have previously written about puppetry because I am rather fond of this traditional art form. When I found out about the London Puppetry Festival a few weeks ago, I was quite eager to take the opportunity to see some contemporary puppetry shows.

First, I saw "The Fantasist" by Theatre Témoin ( founded in Toulouse in 2007 by graduates of the London International School of Performing Arts), partly because it received very positive reviews by the press. The subject matter is rather dark yet 'contemporary'... a story about a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder and her illusions inspired by personal experiences. The lead actress ( Julia Yevnine) succeeded in keeping the audience engaged throughout, and allowwed us to embark with her on an emotional journey. Excellent performance and imaginative plot on a subject that is not easy to tackle. Unfortunately, the two shows that followed were slightly disappointing, even though I love both venues.

I have been to Little Venice on numerous occasions, but I never noticed the Puppet Theatre Barge on the canal, kinda strange considering it has been there for over 25 years already! Not surprisingly, the canal boat theatre is narrow and rather 'cosy', but it is a cute and quirky venue for marionette puppetry. However, "All he fears" written by Howard Barker and performed by Movingstage Marionette Company failed to create the same excitement I felt towards the venue. The dark plot about a philosopher and professor who seems to be jinxed largely due to his own pessimism was engaging up to the interval, and then it all went downhill. The storyline was too thin for the 75 min running time, it lost direction in the second part, which was a shame because it could have been better if it was shorter and without the interval.


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Little Angel Theatre in Islington & lovely autumn days in London...


A similar problem occurred when I saw Dustpan Odyssey by the famous French company, Compagnie Philippe Genty at Little Angel Theatre in Islington. Again, I was surprised not to have discovered this puppetry theatre ( established since 1961) earlier since it is located right behind Upper Street! The small theatre is lovely and I shall definitely come back again in the future. However, I have slightly mixed feelings towards the fun and entertaining performance based on Homer's "Odyssey"; on one hand, I was absolutely amazed by the creative prop choices and spontaneity and skills of the actors, but I felt that the show was slightly too long and it became rather random and tedious towards the end. Yet I was still glad that I saw it as I would never look at corkscrews and dustpans the same way again!


This post was posted in London, Traditional arts & crafts, Puppetry, Theatre & performance art and was tagged with London, puppetry, theatre