Little Angel Theatre
Where: Inner London
1 October 2012 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Theatre for children should be a magical, enveloping experience which initiates an enduring love of the arts, and the Little Angel Theatre is certainly the perfect environment for such an introduction. Leaving busy Islington to duck down the wisteria-draped Dagmar Passage feels like a voyage of discovery in itself, and the children - some excited first-timers, some nonchalant old-hands – are greeted warmly at the door of the atmospheric building and definitely made to feel that this all about them.
The Tear Thief is an adaptation of the children’s story by Carol Ann Duffy, in which the mischievous little sprite spends the hour between supper and bedtime capturing the tears of grizzling children in her silvery sack. When she has a sizeable haul she skips off up to the moon – which, contrary to popular scientific belief, turns out to be powered by these little drops of children’s feelings – and tips them in, leaving it to glow brightly once more.
The simple but ingenious set allows the audience to peep into the windows of the houses and watch the familiar scenes of bedtime tantrums and bath time sulks, and although these often draw knowing laughter from children and parents alike, when the Tear Thief works her invisible magic there is a sense of reverence and awe. The tears are represented by tiny jewels which sparkle against the blackness of the set, and the gentle, reverential pace at which the shimmering puppet counts her treasures conveys beautifully the value of these little tokens of emotion.
The musical accompaniment by
James Heasford is impressive, varying between slow, sonorous cello, jazzy violin and mournful harmonica. The whole soundtrack, including the wonderfully resonant voiceover by Juliet Stevenson, gives the piece a real air of gravity and importance. It is reassuring to see children’s theatre with such excellent production values, clearly holding the children’s intelligence and sensitivity in high regard.
Overall this is beautiful and thoughtful theatre, but the moral of the story is less straightforward. There is something undeniably sinister about the moon glowing with the stolen sadness of children, and although a little discussion afterwards could unveil the complex lessons of the piece, there must be many children who leave slightly bewildered by the message they have been given. Nonetheless, an enchanting experience for the entire audience, whatever their age.
- by Mel West Related Content
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
: The economic impact of Arts & Culture in the UK Infographic When Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for the arts to make their "economic case" for subsidy, t... Plays Cast: Harry Potter star in Southwark Moment, more for Branagh's Macbeth Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will make her stage d... Brief Encounter with ... The Kite Runner's Ben Turner Ben Turner stars in the stage version of the bestselling book The Kite Runner, which runs at Liverpo... Titus Andronicus (RSC) This latest production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, to borrow from football punditry, is a p... : Britain's outdoor theatres Take Five With half-term approaching, the weather (hopefully) set to improve for the bank holiday weekend and ... West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square next month West End Live, a weekend of free entertainment from top London shows, will return to Trafalgar Squar... : 'I carry the ghost of Gregory Peck on my shoulders' Robert Sean Leonard Actor Robert Sean Leonard is currently playing Atticus Finch in Timothy Sheader's production of To K... To Kill A Mockingbird Twenty years ago, a young Robert Sean Leonard appeared on the London stage with Alan Alda in... X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p...