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.