In 1961 John and Lyndie Wright lead an enthusiastic team of puppeteers and transformed a derelict Hall in Islington into a theatre designed specially for Children’s marionette shows. The Little Angels Theatre became the home of London puppetry and there is a green plaque dedicated to John Wright on the wall outside the theatre.
We were invited to watch the performance of There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom. The show is written by James Sellick. There are big name voiceovers such as Rang-Tan voice over by Emma Thompson, Jag-Wah voice over by Doc Brown and Turtle voiceover by Rag’n’Bone Man.
Inside the theatre resembles a church, with an ailse down the centre and long cushioned pews either side offering a great view of the stage ahead. The theatre itself is unique in that there are signs recommending that children are seated on the aisle end of the pews. This means that all the children are seated behind each other and means they can all see really well. It stops the problem of a tall adult sitting in front and blocking the view.
While the show we watched was marketed to an audience of 5-11 year olds we all enjoyed it. Our 2 year old watched it in a very simple level of enjoying the puppetry and listening to the story – he was gripped. Our 7 year old enjoyed the puppetry, the story and was really struck by the overall environmental message as was I. My husband enjoyed it through a parents eyes seeing the children’s faces light up at different moments in the show.
The story itself is inspired by the Greenpeace There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom and There’s a monster in my Kitchen created by Mother and written by James Sellick.
The story took us on a powerful journey emotionally. At the start the little girl puppet woke to carry out her morning routine in the bathroom; interrupted by a Jaguar causing chaos. We were then transported, by a quick set change, to the forest, which is burning alive due to human deforestation and the meat production imdustry. The power ‘there’s a human in my forest’ message comes from the voice over.
In the middle we were transported from a turtle in the bathroom to a sea filled with single use plastics. The transition was unique, using clever lighting, material down the aisle to represent the sea and puppet fish swimming along. We then see dead fish trapped inside old discarded plastic bottles and the turtles head being suffocated. This time, the voice over is saying ‘there’s a human in my ocean’. It hammers home the damage done by the use of single use plastics and fishing.
The story ends with the Rang-Tan who has lost his mother and his home due to the use of palm oil in cosmetics such as shampoo and in chocolate. Again the voice over sends a message starting with the powerful words ‘there’s a human in my forest’.
At the end of the ‘there’s a human in my forest’ and ‘ocean’ scenes money always changes hands to enhance the message that our consumerism and Meat, fish and palm oil consumption is causing irreversible damage to the natural world and animal habitats.
At the end of the show the phone rings at the rear of the auditorium and the children are encouraged to go and answer the phone. The call is asking what can be done to help the environments and habitats these animals live in. The answers are to stop consuming products with palm oil, switch to bamboo toothbrushes and join in with meat free Mondays.
This show really broke down powerful environmental messages and presented them to children and fun and innovative way. My children both loved the show. The message definitely got through to my eco friendly 7 year old who now wants to have a bamboo toothbrush and make sure she doesn’t use anything with palm oil.
The Little Angel Theatre has a charming, quirky, unique feel and the puppetry is clever and entertaining for adults and children alike.
The unique theatre has continued to evolve over the past 60 years. Under the leadership of Samantha Lane and direction of Peta Swindall this quirky theatre has been delighting audiences both in London and globally thanks to the both live and digital performance.
The Little Angel Theatre is celebrating 60 years of entertaining audiences this year with a live/digital hybrid season.
There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom and Other Stories
10 Sept – 7 Nov, Theatre
A Little Angel Theatre production
Supporting Greenpeace and Meat Free Monday
Aimed at ages 5-11
£13.50 adults / £11.50 children
There may be a castle
13 November–23 January, Theatre
Little Angel Theatre production
Aimed at ages 7-11
£14 adults / £12 children
Running time: one hour approx.
The Storm Whale
20 November – 30 January, Little Angel Studios
Aimed at ages 4-8
Tickets £14 adults / £12 children
The next episodes of Watch, Make, Share will be available here
People Behind The Puppets video series will be continued to be released weekly here