Review: Thumbelina

There can be something joyfully simple about puppetry that hides the tremendous expertise of doing it well.

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Joy Haynes bought both those sides to the Hostry Festival's performance of Thumbelina.

Based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, this intricately-crafted yarn follows its tiny heroine as she journeys around the world, meeting new friends - and some foes.

Haynes' is a master storyteller both as narrator and puppeteer, using rod, glove and shadow puppets (plus a great slab of imagination) to put us alongside Thumbelina at every stage of her adventure.

It worked delightfully in the intimate surroundings of the Hostry, and deserved a bigger audience.

The same is true of the preceding show, Tilly the Talespinner and Obee Joyful, who entertained with silly tales about trying to make the miserable King Cuthbert smile. Mixing song, slapstick and audience participation, this was a perfectly fun show to lift the spirits on a drab afternoon.

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