Step aboard the travelling puppetry theatre, as the Puppet Theatre Barge settles in the heart of Little Venice in Warwick Avenue. If you’re stuck for ideas of how to spend the rest of the Easter holiday, then why not treat the family to a slice of marionette puppetry… on a boat!
With Western African origins, ‘Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby is a tale that has been passed down by many a generation, travelling from Africa to North and South America. A narrative that has crossed many a continent, with each version of the story varying in its intricascies, the heart of the narrative stays the same. A story submerged in morality, the piece looks at how the deceptive fox, an animal commonly used within folklore to symbolise mischievous masterminds to capture brother rabbit. A story of wits, the production shifts between perspectives, as both characters attempt to out smart the other.
Rudolf Walker, better known as Patrick Truman in Eastenders provides his voice to all of the characters in the cast, his Trinidadian accent automatically transporting the audience to Caribbean climes with elements of warmness and jubilance. All of the characters however end up sounding similar, therefore performances miss nuance and variety. The world established is nothing short of awe inspiring, as marionette manipulators Elizabeth Barren, Juliette Meacock, Edie Edmundson and Jazmyn Sadri control every intricate movement of the characters featured, from brother rabbit, to brother fox, a bear and the buzzard, really highlighting the very best of Gren Middleton‘s stunning puppetry designs.
Rob Humphreys‘ directs a jovial yet steady piece of children’s theatre, with the puppets taking centre stage, however the no thrills narrative slows the production down. The Movingstage Marionette Company present a narrative that differs from the mainstream stories we are used to hearing, and this is something that should definitely be commended. 3/5 Review written by Lucy Basaba. ‘Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby is currently showing at the Puppet Theatre Barge in Little Venice until Monday 17th May. For more information on the production, visit here…
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