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A feature by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!






Moving Stage presents

Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf who tried to eat her



Written by Deborah Jones

Production & Puppets J & G Middleton


Wolf – Philip Voss

Red Riding Hood – Deborah West

Granny – Stephanie Fayerman

Stan – Louise Middleton

Music by Guy Denning

Glass Blowing – John Kaye

Sound Recording – Graham Harper

Operators – Sarah Fitzpatrick, Juliette Meacock, Stanley Middleton, Soledad Zarate

Directors – Rob Humpreys & Kate Middleton


The Puppet Theatre Barge

17 Jan – 15 Mar 2015



If you’re thinking, ‘why review a puppet show, suitable for ages adult to four’, or ‘why would any grown up choose to attend such a show,’ then you’re sorely in need of a dose of magical marionette theatre, preferably, via a show enabling your childlike imagination to re-emerge, as this one does!

This highly renowned, understandably beloved puppet theatre, situated in a rustic wooden barge anchored on one of London’s more scenic stretches of Little Venice canal was, to us, at least, a well- kept secret, though it’s been operating in one location or another in The Big Smoke for nearly thirty years. Getting there is really, half the fun, especially if you’re travelling by a combo of bus and shank’s mare, as you cheerily skirt shrubbery, admiring views on the way to its waterside entrance.

On opening morning, the fifty five seat theatre was full to capacity, impressive on such a cold day, with a children’s birthday party in evidence in the first five, four person rows. Rows are graduated to allow clear viewing throughout, with big people in the house taking end of row seats, youngsters in between. The theatre is evocative of a travelling show with its colourful wood puppets hanging from the ceiling on either side of the seating area and rows leading down to small, thick velvet curtains.

We all know the story of Little Red Riding Hood, or think we do, but there’s nothing ho-hum about the presentation of this entertaining, specially commissioned reworking of the tale by Deborah Jones, the author’s first puppet show script. The production oozes charm and warmth from the outset with its endearingly low tech, yet highly effective, oft distant settings of the legendary wood, grandmother’s cottage and wolf’s castle. The fact that this wolf even has a castle tells you things are different and so they are, from Granny, reminiscing about her diva days to Red encouraging the wolf towards a positive change of heart. Sans spoilers, the show has a surprise ending with a modernised moral and one character that I can say with certainty has never appeared in this tale before!

The marionettes are beautifully carved and suitably dressed for their roles from head to foot, Wolf possessing the most upper crust voice, the better to hoodwink Granny and Red with! The children in attendance, toddler to age, eight or nine perhaps, openly enjoyed the show, enthusiastically laughing and clapping, though some jokes adults could also relate to filtered through. Come summer, when the barge anchors at Richmond, the schedule includes productions aimed solely at adults, without, from what we could surmise from the hand-outs, losing their fairy-tale essence.

One of the main aims of the company, in this day and age, an unusual, admirable one, is that they propose to activate imaginations, another being to insure that all parts of the production are equally important; both goals are realized through their collective artistry as well as skill and intentions. I for one was thoroughly charmed by the experience of being there and would heartily recommend an outing to the puppet barge for some ‘live animation’ as the company wisely terms their art, not just as a form of escape from the everyday, though it is that, but as a reminder of some valuable assets we all inwardly possess that tend to get misplaced in the daily shuffle. Visiting the enchanting Puppet Theatre Barge, one travels back, to a less high powered, undoubtedly, imaginatively richer time, when hand-made, home-spun entertainment would have been the now exceptional, norm.


The Puppet Theatre Barge
Little Venice Canal
Central London
Moored opposite 35 Bloomfield Road
London W9 2PF


Box Office 0207 – 249 – 6879
Master, Visa, Amex accepted
Children - £8.50, Seniors - £10.00, Adults £12.00

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