The Little Angel Theatre’s production of The Wolves in the Walls does not have just ordinary wolves: they come with a fine pedigree in the form of Director and Designer Toby Olié. He is also co-artistic director of leading puppet company Gyre & Gimble, and worked on War Horse (in fact Toby was originally Joey the horse’s rear end!). Additionally, the production is in conjunction with the Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal. So all this, combined with a storyline from the incredible author Neil Gaiman, heralds this show as a quality, sure-fire winner, which indeed it proves to be.
Based on a graphic novel illustrated by Dave McKean, the script plays very true to the book, sharing a sense of edgy visual style. It is enhanced by wonderfully atmospheric music and songs, helping to move things along at a good pace and develop characterisation. The family of puppets are beautifully made and sensitively manipulated by a talented cast of four, who creatively utilise a simple set to move us across boundaries and explore different locations. The fine line between everyday life and fantasy is perfectly blurred as mum makes mountains of jam, dad plays the tuba (badly) and the brother battles video games, whilst the walls are invisibly crawling with a sinister lupine infestation. Along with the fabulous rod puppets we see some wonderful shadow puppetry and light-play, which opens up exciting new worlds, inviting us into an evocative, timeless realm of imagination.
The wolves themselves are patchy, scratchy rascals who offer the audience an enormous amount of fun when wrecking Lucy’s house. Adults and children alike howl with laughter at their antics. Lucy sets a fine example, displaying enormous bravery by standing up to her family in order to battle the unwelcome intruders, save her beloved pig puppet, and fight injustice – kind of Greta Thunberg but with wolves…
At only an hour long The Wolves in the Walls is perfect for a young audience, and its edginess is perfectly offset by the balance of humour and slapstick. The tiny venue is well suited for small children, and the front of house staff make a big effort to settle them in comfortably, ready for the adventure. This is an absolute treat of a show!
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Directed & Design by: Toby Olié
Composed by: Adam Pleeth
Lyrics by: Carl Grose
Associate Designer & Puppet Supervisor: Daisy Beattie
Booking link: https://littleangeltheatre.com/whats-on/the-wolves-in-the-walls/
Booking until: 26 April 2020