Edinburgh Fringe 2010
A charming production, suitable for children aged 3-6. Entertaining, creative, and interactive, this is a great show that kept all the children in the audience entertained. Long nose puppets certainly know how to please the kids.
Jovial clarinet music sets the scene as the audience is introduced to Ben, a little boy trying to make friends with a stubbornly silent penguin. It is a delightful tale of an unusual friendship, adventure, and perseverance, kitted out with silly songs, dizzy dances, and some really delightful puppetry. It is a great pleasure to see some children’s theatre that specifically caters for quite young children, and does so with beautiful ease.
Such success is hardly surprising. Long nose puppets are no stranger to the fringe, with successful adaptations of Flyaway Katie in 2007, and the award winning Shoe Baby in 2006. Penguin (another of Polly Dunbar’s books) is a new addition to these projects and is sure to start charming children all over the country.
And so young Ben meets a variety of characters along his journey to charm the silent penguin into talking. Enormous lions, eccentric humans, and some unusual and amusing other characters all soon appear, each with a captivating and humorous quality that is sure to keep the children entertained.
In terms of production values, the puppets are really beautiful and skilfully operated (I found that not being able to see the puppeteers was a nice touch and helped some of the younger ones maintain focus), and the music was very accessible and pleasing to listen to. I was in two minds about the use of sound design for the voicing of the puppets. It was definitely a plus to be able to voice the little boy with a genuine little boy voice, but at times I feel the energy could have been greater with live voicing. This is of course a judgement call however, and what Long Nose Puppets are doing is certainly working.
As a result this is a really charming and enjoyable production which kept the children, and the adults, entertained. If you have children this is a company to look out for in the future.