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Review: The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Norwich Puppet Theatre

PUBLISHED: 14:18 21 December 2017

Norwich Puppet Theatre Christmas show, The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Puppeteer Paul Preston Mills.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Puppet Theatre Christmas show, The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Puppeteer Paul Preston Mills. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A Hans Christian Andersen tale is this year’s seasonal treat at Norwich Puppet Theatre, says Charlotte Valori.

Relying more on projections and paper silhouettes than traditional puppetry, The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a very gentle, but generally effective piece of storytelling, conveyed by Paul Preston-Mills, enacting Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic toy love story with intermittent narration and a handful of simple everyday props against a white silk backdrop.

Graeme Hawkins’ naive projections float in repeatedly, often interacting directly with props as they move across the stage, creating a layer of digital magic over the otherwise straightforward action.

The piece opens so subtly that we feel uncertain it will hold children’s attention: but Preston-Mills’ persistence pays off.

Banyan Theatre’s design has a soothing simplicity; its highlight is the tin soldier’s sea adventure, when the entire backdrop billows threateningly towards us, as digital ‘fish’ slide from crumpled pieces of paper to swarm in the deep.

Until December 30

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