J for Jabberwocky jungle jaunt

‘Make it short & snappy’

J for Jabberwocky performance at Little Angel Theatre, London.

The portrayal of a nonsensical poem through the medium of puppetry, poise, prancing and prowling antics. My first foray into the charming world of the Little Angel puppetry Theatre gave me an appreciation of how silly stories can be beautifully conveyed through dance, movement and sound.

‘Just the facts please’

‘I’ve got a cup of tea, tell me all about it…’

After yesterday, time for something a little more light hearted. What better than the world of nonsense and jibber jabber with Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky? Here’s their trailer which gives a glimpse of the entrancing music and enchanting characters.

Being a local of the Little Angel puppetry Theatre, having heard a talk from a puppeteer and having seen a community children’s puppetry making workshop in action, it was about time I went to visit this jewel in Islington’s theatre crown.

I arranged to meet a wonderful artsy friend and enter the world of the Jabberwocky together. We were in good company as we sat next to a devoted fan of the Little Angel Theatre, someone who had been coming for decades and clearly loved it!

The theatre was packed by the time I arrived, so it was lucky there was still space for me to squeeze my bum on the back row. What we lost in foot room we made up for with a shelf behind us to store our coats and bags.

A vivid green shaggy bathroom-rug style surround and jazzy purple stage greeted us. The audience hushed as a small, delicately jointed figure of the beamish boy made his way down the central aisle to greet us all.

Beamish boy with his sword

Beamish boy with his vorpal sword

A charming scene followed with him bounced from artist to artist. Through a selection of scenes on the stage and in a separate section further towards the audience, we were immersed in a world of wild magic and unknown danger. There were moaning monk like ‘mome raths’, curious ‘jub jub’ birds, and my favourite: the most gangly, shaggy and lanky ‘frumious Bandersnatch’ who rather stole the show. Although initially fearsome, he bonded with the beamish boy through his awkward acrobatics and endearing grumpy old man nature.

I was also most impressed by the range of vocal calls and non human noises one particular puppeteer could reach – quite extraordinary as low growls and cheerful chirps emanated from her throat in quick succession.

I was rather surprised by the dark and brooding turn it took, a little darker than I expected. However, overall it was a delightful first step into the magical world of gibberish and conveying story through puppetry.

I look forward to another performance, along with exploring the puppetry barge at some point in the near future.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Jabberwocky, here you are:

’Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.
“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983) via the Poetry Foundation website.

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One response to “J for Jabberwocky jungle jaunt

  1. Pingback: Full on February Alphabet Challenge – Complete! | MishMashTash·

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