If ever proof were needed that Theatre Orchard is bringing quality theatre to our home town of Weston-super-Mare, it can be found in this excellent show, In Our Hands.
Fusing puppetry, movement and visual theatre, award winning company Smoking Apples has created something original, imaginative and fresh for audiences of age 11+ and it’s great to see so many young people engaged in this show at Theatre Tropicana.
The subject matter could be tricky – widowed, elderly Alf the fisherman is suffering at the hands of much larger companies, the debts are piling in and he’s being offered buy-outs of his Catcher’s Fortune quota. What should he do? What advice does his absent son offer? The 5-strong cast use music, light, boxes, voice recordings and, of course, puppets to tell the story with clarity and emotion (I thought I might cry at the end). No words are spoken by our actor/puppeteers, rather a series of grunts and squeaks, caws and trills; that the story is so easy to follow is a marvel really *.
This is a production that educates us about the origins of our food and about market economics. It shows us how we treat each other and what is important. It is smart, thoughtful and a whole lot of fun. It’s also hypnotic, making you want to watch every single movement of the team’s beautiful craft – the way props are turned into any number of representations, how Alf and his son’s mask heads are so incredibly real, that we get to know one very hungry seagull or that we’re allowed the thrill of eavesdropping on radio chatter and gossip between boats off the coast of Cornwall. There is so much in here that they must be exhausted by the end.
One of the best puppet shows I’ve ever seen.
*At least it’s effortless for the older audience – you might want to take a few moments before the show to explain the meaning of quotas and ‘UCAS’ to younger people.
Find out more about Smoking Apples here
This half term, Theatre Tropicana is hosting 3 days of Greek and Roman Games and Theatre