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Handa’s Hen review at Little Angel London

An exotic incarnation of the numeracy hour is served up for two to five year olds in the Little Angel’s latest venture for the pre-school market. Based on Eileen Browne’s poultry-based Handa story, it’s a rollicking counting game, performed by two humans and 55 puppets.

Charlyne Francis and Anna-Maria Nabirye, sporting pigtails, aprons and permanent grins, bounce merrily about the diminutive stage as Handa and Akeyo. The two friends booty-shake their way through the task of hanging out the washing and looking for missing Mondi, their hen. On a sunlight-drenched set, a puppet parade of native wildlife comes to investigate. Designers Lyndie and Sarah Wright are the co-creators of the range of creatures that the girls manipulate, then park around the washing line – two butterflies on thin wires, three hand-held mice peep out of the laundry basket, four lizards are Velcroed to colourful kangas. Each species signals its own rhythm, song, dance and countdown. This warm, inclusive show has an increasingly energising effect on the young audience, hunkered down on cushions, close enough to touch spoonbills and frogs when they caper by. It’s a sweet safari with a clear learning objective and you learn how to count to ten in Swahili into the bargain.

Production Information

Little Angel, London, April 25-July 5

Author
Eileen Browne
Director
Marleen Vermeulen
Producer
Little Angel Theatre
Cast includes
Charlyne Francis, Anna-Maria Nabirye
Running time
50mins

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