Book Story at Little Angel Theatre, Islington, London
“ it’s all a little too ‘safe’ “
Book Story is exactly what it claims to be: a story about books, told by books. It is a tale of a librarian whose books come to life when humans are not around. They sing, fly, dance, tell jokes, have adventures and become the subject of a picture-book themselves.
The setting is primarily in ‘Brians Library’ - and the missing apostrophe there (or, rather, not there) is exactly what the sign said, centre-stage, looking down on the audience throughout. Not a good sign, in more ways than one…
There is an imaginative use of props and a multitude of clever library and book puns to keep the adults interested. The style and story is just good enough to keep the children focussed. Although it is a little rough around the edges at times, Book Story is original and fun, but not magical and unforgettable. There is a Kindle-type product at one point, which reads aloud. The funny voice was instantly recognised by one child as sounding like a Minion. Much unintended mirth ensued.
MONSTRO Theatre claim to be pioneers of the Puppet Musical, which is a bold claim. To me, this is a play with a few songs in it. There is a brilliant cast, playing all the varied characters, singing and animating all the puppets: Karina Garnett, Andrea Sadler and Phil Yarrow, showing that, overall, this is a performers’ piece.
It was written, composed and directed by Ben Glasstone, from his and Michael Fowkes original idea. Fowkes also designed and directed the excellent puppetry. The children really liked the play, but they weren’t blown away by it.
Book Story has a tagline which is superb when spoken in a Sean Connery voice: Learn To Love Your Shelf… It is a ‘safe’ production for children to watch and enjoy. But that is also what is holding it back: it’s all a little too ‘safe’.
Show Length: 60 minutes (no interval)
Audience: Aged 5+
Twitter: @monstrotheatre, #BookStory
MONSTRO’s Book Story now embarks on a UK Tour.
6th Goodrich Village Hall, Ross-on-Wye
7th Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant
8th The Capitol Theatre, Horsham
9th Hook Library, Kingston
11th Central Library, Redbridge
13th Trestle Arts Base, St Albans
14th Old Town Hall and Arts Centre, Hemel Hempstead
16th Tooting Library, Wandsworth
18th-21st Take Off Festival, City Theatre, Durham
22nd Gulbenkian, Canterbury
23rd The Woodville, Gravesend
24th Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
26th Norden Farm Arts Centre, Maidenhead
27th Arts Centre, Bridport
29th Arts Depot, North Finchley
4th Astor Community Theatre, Deal