The Paper Dolls (for toddlers)

Review by Holly Barradell (aged 29) & Madison (aged 16 months)
A Polka Theatre and Little Angel Theatre co-production of The Paper Dolls
Reviewed at The Polka Theatre 
Running until March 13th 2016
For ages 3-6 (with Toddler specific performances for ages 1-2)

Children’s Theatre Reviews reviewed The Paper Dolls during its run at The Little Angel in 2015. Here, Holly offers some additional thoughts about the special version for toddlers currently playing at Polka Theatre.

It was great to have the option to either sit on the bench rows or the floor – with some very young children, being close works for them as a way to stay engaged, but for my little co-reviewer, sitting at the back, up high, able to see all the stage and quite frankly stay off the stage is the way forward.

Of course, being the Polka Theatre they know what little children need to stay interested and immersed, and just as the little audience got restless the mirror ball would spin or the dolls would take off, and bring them back to mesmerisation!


The bright colours, quick scene changes and wonderful manipulation of ‘Rosie’ the puppet all added to the smooth performance. The puppeteer duo worked tirelessly, nicely balancing a more ‘traditional’ performance with the occasionally fourth wall break to smile to the children. It was great to see an abridged version for toddlers that still told the story with a good flow – let’s not forget the grown ups who sit and listen too!

The Polka have more toddler specific performances coming up this season and I know my little boy would love to return and watch Happy Harry’s Café in April.

Holly is a Drama Education consultant who trained originally in Stage Management at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She became a secondary Drama teacher before moving into curriculum design and reform. Holly is part of the exec at National Drama as well as Vice Chair of Governors at her local primary school, and most importantly is a Mum to her 1 year old little boy. You can read more about what Holly gets up to on her blog. Follow Holly @drama_holly

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