Brighton Fringe 2015
"Grab your boots and join Jack and his wily cat Puss on a quest to defeat an evil ogre and win the hand of Jack’s true love, Princess Joy"
I was hugely impressed with Bard and Troubador’s two-hander, Puss in Boots. Both performers have all-round skills as performers – able comedians, singers, actors and puppeteers. They fully command the space and know just how to engage children. Some were invited onto the stage to help at various stages of the story – a version of Puss that isn’t afraid to take a few creative liberties whilst staying true to tradition.If you want a children’s story that tells a famous tale and tels is well, this is for you and your family.
The puppets were captivating and added icing into an already tasty cake of a show. The style is panto and the panto has all the right ingredients – singalong songs, a baddie, a hero, a love story, a cute cat, and plenty of "Oh no you didn’t!" and "He’s behind you!" shout- and sing-along fun.
One thing would lift this Puss in Boots into Outstanding. The production is vocally full-on, the script never lets up and both performers rock the back wall of the venue with their voice projection. They change character with consumate ease, darting behind the screen-set as a cat, only to emerge as a princess or even an ogre, within seconds. Yet that pace and tempo would benefit from an occasional change – a few moments of stillness and silence. Fairy tales are about wonder, gentleness and tenderness, not only spectacle, swash and buckle. The Princess is beautiful, the ogre suitably frightening (though not too frightenng, certainly breathtaking when you first see him). Let the full-on rev of the story come to silence just in a few places. Let wonder be born – slow it down just a little here and there, play with pacing. Risk the silence. That would add another level of texture to an already fine and impressive show.
The hour flew by. The applause was deafening. The children loved it, and that enjoyment was matched only by the adults who were with them.
Bard and Troubador have brought a lovingy crafted, unashamedly panto-style children’s show to the Fringe and the Emporium is the perfect setting for it – the rake allowing everyone to see the proceedings. Not a moment is lost and the company fill the space with an good old tale we wanted to hear again. They breathed life into it with their energy, skills, charisma and charm. They brought us beautiful costumes, played characters seamlessly and offered puppets that were funny, affecting and grew the cast beyond two. In the end we had an ensemble panto realised brilliantly by two performers who know their craft very well indeed. Highly recommended.