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Brighton Fringe 2014


Bard and Troubadour

Genre: Children's Theatre

Venue: The Warren


Low Down

Puppetry, story telling and song from a talented duo who transport children and adults into their tiny world where everything is giant.


From the moment a theatre piece for children begins my heart either sinks or sings. This time it sung. The Bard and Troubadour judged the right balance of fun and audience participation without being shouty or patronising. This brand new Sussex company are definitely fresh and charming whilst assured and distinctive in their trade too. Peppered with beautiful singing by Amy Sutton, a multitude of characters by Joshua Crisp and an array of puppets this piece has all the ingredients to make a great experience for children.

The interaction began with us finding imaginary glow balls and hurtling them onto the stage, the fairy lights come on as we throw  and the tone is set for cheekiness and magic. The intermittent audience participation included a Zumba class and children being brought up on stage, including a stunned little boy being introduced as Thumbelina’s potential husband.

These story tellers are skilled and witty in their performance. Whilst Sutton kept the sweetness and innocence of Thumbelina, she did have fun as an actress too.  A memorable moment was her loud and strange sobbing whilst the reserved British pilot tries to comfort her. This was one of my four year old daughter’s favourite moments. The actors had fun and so did we. Crisp enjoyed his array of multiple characters, including a frog, a swallow, a butterfly and a scary mole. Though his French accent was awful ( and I was with my French friend) we didn’t care as we loved him and his performance.

The puppetry is beautifully executed and the puppets well made, most importantly they were effective in creating a giant world around little Thumbelina.

The set was simple and used well, this piece could go anywhere, on the streets, at a festival or in a theatre.

There were, I believe a few missed opportunities of slow, delicate magic that could have been taken; like when the swallow took flight a little more choreography would have made this a stunning moment. There was also room for the depths of the fear of a little girl alone in a giant world, a fear that I’m sure many little ones relate to. Children can handle the genuine darkness of these stories too and it’s a shame to shy away from them. However this beautifully crafted piece of theatre does the most important  job of transporting us.

At the end we have the surprise of Thumbelina meeting Tom Thumb and as two large Umbrellas slowly open to reveal petals and fairly lights so do our hearts as we are taken into their tiny magical world where love is ready to blossom. 


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