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Nursing Lives by Vamos Theatre

We rely on facial expressions so much in everyday life, especially in theatre. Nursing Lives’ by Vamos is very different, as the play as performed using only mask & without words. The key essence of our characters is perceived through the face, so when it is covered our eyes are drawn to small theatrical devices & details to give expression & meaning. From a small tilt, even to the way you stand, everything signifies so much.

Nursing Lives’ follows the protagonist pensioner Flo, visiting the derelict wartime hospital she trained at, however finding the builders are getting ready to demolish it. Through her time wandering the wards, she encounters memories from her past & the audience is transported back to her former life. Focussing on the nurses role in the war, the performance is often funny. However there are elements of sadness; when you really feel for the characters.

The beauty of the performance is it achieves this, through the cast tackling the logistical and expressive challenges. What I really admired was the sensitivity to the characters & the subject, making the performance very inspiring.

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Little Angel Theatre

I felt like a little kid again, all excited to see one of my childhood favourites ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. The show is the current puppet adaptation of author Michael Rosin and illustrator Helen Oxenby’s 1989 classic. It is just as popular today as the kids where quoting the lines before it had even started!

The show is absolutely beautiful, and is quite easy to get absorbed in their world. For those of you who don’t know the story; it follows a family on an adventure to find a bear and how they get around the various obstacles that come before them. The text is translated to the theatre through long musical numbers performed by the puppeteers. The performance was powerful enough to enchant an initially wriggly audience.

I couldn’t help but stare in awe at how beautiful and simple Little Angel’s puppets where. They moved so gracefully and realistic, it was hard not to fall for their enchantment. I have been a fan of their work for a long time and it really didn’t disappoint. The set was also rather simple, adorably transforming to meet the need of the next obstacle. There was a beautiful scene where Bertie the youngest child decided to go swimming with the fishes.

I think what made the performance was the multi-talented performers. Not only did they puppeteer, but sang, played instruments and changed scenery very well. They handled the puppets amazingly and I was quite awe-struck at how gifted they were.

The climax of the show for the audience was undoubtedly when the bear appears. I personally found him quite cute and felt sorry for him when they locked him out of their house. Overall the performance is well worth a visit, by the UK’s leading puppet company. There is something for everyone whether you’re a tiny tot or an old Biddy. Do be warned, the songs are so catchy they will be stuck in your head for a long time to come!

We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day! where not scared!