Bagpuss, Soho Theatre, London
Tuesday 04 January 2011
This season's crop of Christmas shows proves that most inner-London venues are seriously under-used in the rest of the year. There is a plethora of under-age party fun in the West End and now the Soho, home to right-on drama and cutting-edge comedy, has cleared the decks for Bagpuss.
Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's 1974 children's programme only ran to 13 episodes but today's toddlers have seen the video and they will recognise the stories of Tavish McTavish, the lost ballet pump and the cotton wool house. Above all, they will recognise the exact replica of Emily's shop on the stage, where the saggy old pink-striped cloth cat presides over the witterings of Professor Yaffle the woodpecker, Matilda the rag doll, Gabriel the toad and the grey mice carved on the side of the pipe organ.
They will also recognise the songs by Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner that are lovingly performed by Georgina Sowerby and Susan Harrison. Playing, respectively, Older Emily and Young Emily, they animate the puppets with quick and gracious movement and transform Suzanne Gorman's somewhat over-reverent direction into something resembling a nursery holiday.
The conceit is charming: a shop that sells nothing turns itself into a lost-property office by investigating the stories of errant items and placing them back in the window, in case their former owners walk down the street. The "thing" at the heart of the McTavish story is thought to be a porcupine without spikes. Actually, it is a pin cushion waiting for pins. Naturally, we all then sing the "pingle pangle pingle" song; not only that, we sing it as a round.
The third story becomes too convoluted for an audience of three- to seven-year-olds who have been participating for 50 minutes. Otherwise, this looks set to become a seasonal favourite. Low-tech it may be, but Bagpuss rocks.
To 9 January (020 7478 0100)
A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend
A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women