26 October 2013

Suspense - a festival of puppetry finally begins

Angus - Weaver of Grass

Suspense Festival 2013 has finally began. Last night, in many different theatres across London, puppetry once again took this little island by storm. Over the next ten days, we shall be exposed to a visual feast of puppetry, dance and storytelling from many different parts of the UK and abroad. I am here to cover the festival for Puppetrynews, so that all of you who couldn't make it to London, can still get a flavour of the delights here. Over the next ten days, I shall be filming short interviews with the performers and recording a taste of their wares, which I shall edit, when I get back to Melbourne, for our Puppetrynews audience.

My first production last night was Angus - Weaver of Grass (pictured above) by Horse and Bamboo Theatre. Angus MacPhee’s life is a tale of illness, lost traditions and magical hats of grass, stunning like sunbursts. Raised on South Uist, and traumatised by WWII, Angus spent 50 years in a psychiatric hospital. He did not speak; instead he wove remarkable costumes from grass which feature in the Collection de l’Art Brut, Switzerland. Featuring beautiful Gaelic singing and grass replicas by Joanne B Kaar. Using sounds, songs and images of the Outer Hebrides this is his tale.

The production was skillfully carried out by four performers, one of which narrated and sang for the masked performers. It combined multi-media projections with shadow puppets, which gave emphasis to the main protagonists in giant masks and the smaller marionettes and glove puppets. It was a visual delight and is highly recommended.

Today I have a three-hour 'Critical Voices' seminar, which will explore what good theatre criticism is all about and this evening a very exciting new production The Shop of Little Horrors. Stay tuned!

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