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The Paper Dolls

Scene from The Paper Dolls. Photo: Ellie Kurttz Scene from The Paper Dolls. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

This sensitive, witty adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s popular book tells the story of Rosie, who makes paper dolls with her mum and then invents engaging stories about them that include a dinosaur, some pigs, a tiger and a crocodile – all of which are gifts to puppetry. The tiger puppet, for example, is simple but growlingly effective with its teeth, stripes and tail. Rosie’s rather tiresome (until he has a loving moment at the end) older brother Tommy always bounces boyishly in as if he were in a sack race, which is fun.

Andrea Sadler delivers sweetness and authenticity as Rosie’s mum, and Jane Crashaw presents Rosie, a table-top puppet, with great conviction. Between them, they act as puppeteers for all of the animals, and it all works with smooth slickness. Julian Butler’s atmospheric music and songs add a lot to the charm of this enjoyable work. Both performers sing compellingly.

This a commendable show of its type. It gets its fourth star for Rosie’s beautifully observed and hilarious foot-stamping, floor-beating tantrum, which makes every child and parent in the audience laugh in recognition.

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Verdict
Skilled, stylish and perceptive work for ages three to seven
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