If you go down to the woods today… you might stumble upon a little hub of colour, aerial acrobatics and delightedly shrieking children.
The ancient Queen’s Wood is the beautiful, sheltered setting for this short, cute show for anyone over two years old from company La Scarabeus, which specialises in aerial theatre, and the Little Angel puppet company.
You might think earth-bound puppets and airborn theatre make for an odd pairing, but this piece, adapted from the French children’s book ‘La Tempête’ by Florence Seyvos and Claude Ponti, doesn’t make it so. There’s a human and puppet version of the same family of two parents and a daughter. The audience sits on a canopy on the floor in the middle of two stages. On one side there’s a happy puppet household filled with flowers and presents, on the other there’s a sort of trampoline, with harnesses for the air frolicking humans.
When a storm arrives, the house floods, prompting much interactive merriment as a blue parachute silk waves over everyone’s heads.
Scarabeus keep their acrobatics basic, bouncing up and down and languidly swooping through hoops, it’s just enough to keep a trawl of youngsters interested for a time – although anyone aged over seven might be a tad disappointed.
It’s the puppets, though, which are the nicest part of the show and the two versions of the same characters demonstrates just how lifelike wooden marionettes can be.
There’s a lovely tactile set too, made up of bits of cloth, flowers, bicycle wheels and sequins, which garlands the whole 40 minutes with a makeshift charm.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell