Book Story Review

Little Angel Studios Touring until 4 November.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Monstro Theatre’s puppet musical is a charming and moving celebration of the magic of books and libraries.

Brian’s father read books to him from the time he was a tiny baby. They both loved books so much that the house became filled with them, so they opened their home as a library. Now Brian is grown up and his father is an old man in a nursing home, but their beloved library is still going strong. The books are also very happy, dancing around the library when the humans aren’t about. Everything changes when Brian’s father dies, and Brian’s favourite childhood book comes to the library – setting one of the books on a dangerous adventure across the town.

Each book has its own quirky character and striking retro cover, with writer Ben Glasstone throwing in lots of recognisable stereotypes for the adults. There’s even a Shakespeare tome spouting melancholy quotes! Performers Phil Yarrow, Karina Garnett and Andrea Sadler shine as the librarians and handle the puppets with skill and love, encouraging the young audience to accept the puppets as real characters. When Garnett took her puppet into the audience, the children were desperate to speak to it, although us adults were slightly more bashful. The weird and wacky ideas that the children suggested – at this performance a young boy suggested that she needed to take an aeroplane that would crash into the sea to travel across town – were celebrated and used throughout the performance, with a particularly touching reference at the end of the play. The songs and puppet choreography are harmonised beautifully, and are just the right length to keep the young audience’s interest and maintain the story’s momentum.

The theme of bereavement and loss is handled deftly and sensitively, and the message that reading is a source of inspiration for creating your own stories is delivered with hopeful excitement. Book Story is simply wonderful family entertainment –a spellbinding love letter to literature that will entrance both children and adults.