Theatre review: Long Nose Puppets’ Arthur’s Dream Boat

Arthur's Dream Boat

I do love the productions of Brighton-based puppeteers Long Nose Puppets. Arthur’s Dream Boat is the third show of theirs Alfie and I have been to see and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Polly (Penguin) Dunbar’s tale follows the fortunes of young protagonist Arthur who has had an amazing dream about a boat and wants to tell his family about it. Each family member in turn is too busy to listen – their respective activities beautifully described through song – and as Arthur is rejected his dream boat grows and becomes more elaborate, building up to a quirky twist at the end. The puppets – a combination of hand-operated and full-body – are exquisite and expertly manoeuvred, Tom Gray’s delightful music is like a fusion of Belle & Sebastian and The Divine Comedy and there’s a large helping of wry humour to keep grown-ups entertained. The audience comprised a wide range of ages when we went – Kitty (six months) enjoyed the music and sparkly set, while Alfie was entranced for the entire performance. It’s touring from this weekend (dates and venues below) – do catch it if you can.

20 Jan Buchan Road Tenants Hall, Buchan Road, Nunhead, London, SE15 3HQ
2 Feb Lyric Hammersmith, King Street, London, W6 0QL
3 Feb Jackson’s Lane, 269A Archway Road  London, N6 5AA
16 Feb Stag Theatre , London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1ZZ
17-18 Feb The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN (tickets available from the 18th of Jan)
16 March Canada Water, 21 Surrey Quays Road, London, SE16 7AR
30 March Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2LW
3-7 April The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, London, SE8 4AG
26 May Watermans, 40 High Street, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 0DS

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