Tale of toys in space causes huge excitement
SAT in the Egg, waiting for The Voyage Of The Nutjellynana to start, the scene was set – two abandoned toys in a dusty, old attic – but there was a flickering, green stage light shining through a wicker laundry basket to the side of the stage.
"What's that?" asked my five- year-old nephew. Soon, my friend's four-year-old was looking at it, too. They were convinced it was a third toy hiding in the basket.
And so to the story of three toys, Melby the teddy bear, Alice the pink kangaroo and Fidge the monkey.
Left in the attic, lively Fidge has a plan for them all to escape by building a space rocket and going on a mission to find the "cosmic banana".
Collecting discarded items from the loft space, Fidge and Alice put the rocket together, much to the annoyance of stuffy old Melby, who thinks it's a crazy idea. But just before take-off (and, yes, it really does take off), sulking Melby changes his mind and jumps in.
Once in space, the trio meet aliens and have to take their broken-down ship to a space station, while poor old Melby gets sucked into black hole. I won't spoil the ending but don't worry, it is a happy one.
There's much for the children to enjoy here. The simple attic set cleverly "transforms" into outer space using screens. The rocket take-off causes huge excitement among the children, as does the moment the laundry basket turns into a gaping black hole (yes, really) that swallows up Melby, and then a huge monster comes out of it (are you keeping up?).
"That must be what that green light was," my nephew informs me. I agreed.
The puppeteers/performers James Richardson and Roz Hilton, from Devon's Angel Heart Theatre Company, put on a great show – it's just a shame there wasn't more audience interaction. Asking children questions and getting them to do things is always a winner.
Never mind. Everyone went home happy, and we even got the chance to meet the puppets afterwards.