Review by Flossie Waite
A Little Angel Theatre Production
Little Angel Theatre
From 29th November – 1st February
For ages 6+ to adults
“ ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves, Did gyre and gymble in the wabe…” The meaning of Lewis Carroll’s poem from Alice Through the Looking-Glass is no clearer to me after watching Jabberwocky at Little Angel Theatre. This is a production, however, that celebrates its nonsense and gives the audience ownership of the story.
A boy leaves his home and enters a forest where strange creatures float through the air and march across the ground. There are fights and friendships, and the bizarre world comes alive through puppets that can completely change shape and an abstract, visually striking set. The boy is performed with a marionette puppet which gives him a naturally nervous, shaking energy, capturing the sometimes scary quality of the adventure.
Though almost wordless, Jabberwocky relishes language and the potential of Carroll’s neologisms – hooded, clawed creatures chant only ‘grabe’, ‘outgrabe’ and ‘brillig’, the impact of each word differing massively.
At this time of year there’s a real temptation to create and see obvious festive fare, but this is something for those trying to avoid, or add to, traditional Christmas shows. It couldn’t be more different from Cindermouse; Little Angel has gone to real efforts to cater to everyone this season.
Jabberwocky is very artistic, beautiful, and a bit weird, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea but certainly refreshing. With all the pressure on children’s theatre to produce commercial work, it’s quite moving to see something so genuinely experimental.
I saw Jabberwocky very early on so it will only become more sure of itself with time, whilst remaining an ‘it’ that is hard to define. As Alice would say, “Curiouser and curiouser…”
Follow me @ctheatrereviews