Fireside Tales With Grandad

Review written by Flossie Waite
A Pickled Image Production
Lyric Hammersmith
For ages 5+

Fireside tales with my Grandad probably would have involved banter about the boy scouts and his love of pickled onions. Luckily in this show, Grandad is a 400-year old serial napper with a knack for waking up in new and exciting places. In this show he shares some of his magical adventures: a whirlpool whipped up by a shark and mermaid, an honest troll, a baking princess, and a giant. Fireside Tales With Grandad emboldens even the shyest to shout out and join in, but gradually begins to lose the audience as it goes on for too long.

It is hard to fault Adam Fuller’s puppeteering of Grandad – his relaxed repartee with the audience (and stamina for staying in a crouched position) is second to none. The puppets themselves are striking – the characterful Grandad and a troll are almost life-size, and the mermaid, shark and giant’s wife have a natural and effective movement.

Though the play’s title suggests a storytelling session and this performance doesn’t disappoint, it seems a shame to limit Grandad by keeping him static – he is such a vibrant character, and so much of the stage is unused. He remains seated, surrounded by suitcases and souvenirs from his trips, throughout the show; his Magic Tent is nearby, which opens up to illustrate stories using shadow-puppet style projection, or rod puppets. Fireside Tales With Grandad is already mastering audience involvement and Grandad’s character brings sparkle to the stories; these are Fireside Tales With Potential.

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