If you like your online theatre to be bite-sized, involving puppets and animals and likely to leave a big smile on your face – look no further than the Little Angel Theatre and their YouTube channel!
A few years ago I saw a musical version of Jan Klussen’s book I Want My Hat Back at the National Theatre’s temporary performance space The Shed. It was a hoot, with an involving storyline and well-rounded characters.
Aimed at pre-schoolers, the tale involves a bear travelling through the wood looking for his hat. He meets several animals on the way, and he isn’t going to give up until he gets his hat back.
Now The Little Angel have made available versions running at 6-8 minutes each of adaptations of both I Want My Hat Back and That Is Not My Hat (in which a small fish steals a hat from a far bigger fish, and narrates a rather tall tale about it). They are simply gorgeous pieces of entertainment.
Directed and performed by the charismatic and cheery Ian Nicholson, with designs by Sam Wilde and music by Jim Witcher. The three collaborators planned and developed the shows over Zoom and WhatsApp and are currently planning the final installment in Klassen’s trilogy, We Found A Hat.
Presented in a puppet theatre set with traditional curtains and hand manipulation of richly detailed cutout figures and props, both productions are utterly charming and perfectly pitched for small audiences. Every animal has their own personality, beautifully brought to life.
Nicholson’s voice work brings Wilde’s designs to life, he keeps adults entertained too with his humour and enthusiasm, and there’s a nice moral tone to the stories which means thieves rarely prosper, and that aggressors might have kind hearts after all.
Both productions are currently available into the first week of June and are well worth experiencing. If you wish to support the theatre go to the Little Angel donation page.