Six performers bring the tale of Bridgette and the Frog to life, using a mixture of mime, puppetry and physical theatre in what turns out to be a charming and unique show. Though aimed at the younger members of the audience, the production’s roots in experimental theatre show through.
The puppets are large in size, their papier-mache faces blank as the cast use expressive movements and choreography to bring the colourful characters to life. Some clever touches, such as a character losing his legs when he stands up; or the comic depiction of a troll on horseback, are well-staged and performed. A particular standout is an artistically breathy depiction of the North wind, masked and enveloped in billowing white sheets, as it carries Bridgette to her destination.
The human cast both operate and interact with the puppets, taking on roles of narrators, monsters and the piece’s quirky characters, such as a drunken blues musician or a mute farrier. Philip Kingscott as the narrator and The Frog has a manner perfectly suited to children’s theatre, speaking to the kids in the audience rather than at them in an empathetic and lively performance. Fernando Fresquez also shines in his brief portrayal of Blind Lemon Jackson (and shows he has a pretty fine blues voice into the bargain) and provides many of the show’s more comic moments.
This was the first night of a short run at The Roxy Art House, and it was mostly smooth. There were a few moments where onstage sound effects and actions obscured the cast’s speech, and a couple of line stumbles, but nothing too damaging to the piece as a whole.
The best judge of its success however was watching the rapt faces of the children in the audience: spellbound, laughing and yelping with fear in all the right places. Liminal Theatre have successfully crafted an enjoyable hour of entertainment which sweeps the young audience into a magical and inventive land of imagination, with a creative vision and originality that is a pleasure to behold.
East of the Sun And West of the Moon runs at the Roxy Art House on 13 & 19 March (6pm) and 20 March (2pm and 6pm).
Tickets are £9 (£5 concession) with family tickets costing £20.
Tickets can bought on the door, or can be ordered online here. They can also be bought in person at Tea Tree Tea in Bread Street.