The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin

These are two posters commissioned by the Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company for their new production, The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin, which premiers this December and will be touring through the Spring of 2020. The show combines live performance and puppetry to tell a a joyful tale that celebrates individuality through some cracking storytelling, beautifully crafted songs and even a chance to learn how to speak penguin!

The posters offer two quite contrasting designs for the show – which is your favourite?

 

Rumpelstiltskin

Last week I went to see BalletLORENT’s production of Rumpelstiltskin at Northern Stage in Newcastle. It follows Rapunzel and Snow White, both of which I have written about previously on this blog. I was lucky enough to be involved with providing some illustrations for Snow White, and did the same again for Rumpelstilstkin. Below is the cover design I made for the storybook section of the theatre programme.

The show itself was, as with the others, something very special. While Snow White focused in on the relationship between a mother and daughter, Rumpelstiltskin in this retelling by Carol Ann Duffy, has at its centre the bond between a father and son. This Rumpelstilstkin is a very different kind of character to the sinister sprite we are traditionally more familiar with. In this retelling he is a misunderstood youth, mistrusted and ostracised but essentially goodhearted. It allows for some clever playing with the traditional story and lends a new energy and warmth to the tale, which is more than matched by the energy of the performers. As ever dance, music, lighting and narration combine to mesmeric effect and there are some lovely distinctive visual touches. I especially liked the king, whose grief for his dead wife is embodied by a giant bobbin he hauls around with him, a huge weight he appears unable and unwilling to give up. Performers of all ages, from the very young to the old, feature in the show’s exuberant crowd scenes, which are a feast for the eyes, with so much going on I got the feeling I could watch it again and again and notice something different each time.

The only disappointing thing about it is that it is the last of balletLORENT’s fairytale trilogy, it’s been a fantastic trio of innovative and original theatre pieces and I am so glad I caught them.

Rumpelstiltskin is touring next year, I’d highly recommend it.