The Little Angel Theatre, Islington
I have an enduring memory from childhood of being taken to a small theatre. I sat in the dark and watched a play with puppets where there was, in the plot, a mix up with two bottles. One had a red light in it and one had a green light in it. One was poisonous and one was not… It was extremely stressful to watch because none of the audience wanted the little boy to choose the poisonous one! The lights in the bottles switched, red green red… oh God don’t let the little boy choose the wrong one! I do believe that one of the characters in the play was a puppet called Joey. I’ve probably remembered this all wrong as memory does play tricks on us… but we have recently had Joey in our office and as soon as I saw him I went right back to the first play I saw at the Little Angel Theatre.
My parents were very ‘arty’ and liberal and took all of us children to lots of really interesting places but the Little Angel Theatre holds the strongest memories for all of us, especially one of my sisters who was so terrified that no one could ever suggest a return visit. (It’s not a terrifying place I hasten to add but my sister always had a really over active imagination as a child.) It’s a really magical place and has been made (due to space constraints) just the right size for children, everything is just ever so slightly smaller.
Recently we were invited to watch one of their adult performances, which was part of the Suspense festival of puppetry for adults. It was a version of ‘The Scottish Play’ Macbeth but done with all the characters as birds. Lady Macbeth was voiced by the wonderful Helen McCrory, it was beautifully done with three puppeteers for each of the main characters. After the performance we had a quick backstage tour and met some of the puppeteers. I had a go with Lady Macbeth and made her look as if she had constant chronic neck ache and one bad hand, I was not very good! I love the Little Angel Theatre and I can’t wait to take my lovely granddaughter there to experience the magic that is the Little Angel. She’s still a bit young, but soon…. So I urge you to take any small children that you know to see one of their forthcoming productions because they will never forget it.
All the history that I have with Little Angel Theatre makes our upcoming collaboration all the more exciting. I don’t want to give too much away but watch this space…