Parentshaped’s theatre correspondent in the South, Natalie, went to see A Fishy Tale at Polka Theatre….
A Fishy Tale (Hand to Mouth Theatre Company) is a gentle piece of children’s theatre which amuses, entertains and educates as it takes its audience on a deep sea adventure. Visually captivating at times, supported by the other-worldly sounding auto-harp, this story sets out and achieves what it intends to do.
Martin Bridle’s one-man many puppets show, is a nod in the direction of more traditional children’s theatre, the likes of which my children and I have not seen for some time. It may not entice its audience in with flashy technical tricks or wild stage antics but it does draw them in. Litterbug is a mildly amusing but irritating litter bug with a disregard of nature’s beauty by discarding rubbish into the sea. The young audience quickly recognise the wrongs being committed and are keen to get on the side of the goodies. Wise Old Lobster (a friend of Wise Old Elf perhaps?) acquires a mythical quality as he is spoken about yet not seen until half-way through the play and when he does appear, does not disappoint. The magical Mermaid also quickly becomes a stage favourite with some witty one-liners which appeal to both the adults and children. These likeable characters win the affections of the audience with their quest to de-litter the ocean.
Bridle interrupts the comedy and drama with a charming interlude of puppet pageantry as an array of sea creatures are beautifully bought to life. Made from recycled materials themselves and bathed in blue-green light, they drive home a perhaps deeper message about leading a more conscious life – taking in the beauty around us and social responsibility.
Both my 4 year old and 7 year old were mesmerised throughout. My 4 year old more so with the audience interaction and characters but my 7 year old connected with the message and the imaginative recycled puppets.
A lovely little piece of children’s theatre.