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Stories on a String

Little Angel Theatre

This charming little show celebrates Literatura de Cordel, a musical style of performance poetry from Northeastern Brazil.

I’m glad I don’t have to stage-manage it because, simple as it looks, we see lots of drawings on cards which become quasi puppets and it must be quite a challenge to get them in the right order. The traffic jam in San Paolo (largest city in South America with a population of 20 million we learned in passing) with the whole audience hooting while the drawings of vehicles harassed each other is great fun. And it sets the tone for a delightful story which manages to be very folksy as well as making fun of mobile phone dependence.

Justina is sent to the country to spend the summer with her grandmother. She is initially resentful but, sent on a quest, she eventually realises the joys of the jungle and that there are more interesting, real things in life to identify with. She meets, for example, a lion, a beautiful bird, a sprite, a spider and more – all, like Justina, puppets nicely made by Judith Hope.

Directed and co-written by Rachel Warr, Stories on a String features four talented performers. Co-writer, Rachel Hayter narrates and plays several musical instruments, her sound – especially on flute – blending well with Camilio Menjura who is the main musician. Puppets are, mostly, in the hands of Jum Faruq and Ajjaz Awad, whose teamwork is striking. Both are actors and singers who perform through their puppets whose voices and facial expressions they project. Faruq, in particular, gives us a totally believable Justina, variously cross, scared, entranced and innocent.

It’s an engaging hour of theatre. Take anyone over three.

 First published by Sardines:
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Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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