Magic and Mystery in Moomin Valley, Get Lost and Found. The Old Market, Hove, Dec 2018
Tove Jansson’s signature bittersweet style of storytelling has been brought to life in a beautiful new interactive show for 4-7 yr olds by Get Lost and Found. Narrated by lovable real-life actors Thingamy and Bob (Sophie Powell and Emma Edwards in the performance I saw), it mixes puppetry with small scale yet magical set design – scenes intricately popping up from book pages and suitcases – and intervals of improvised creative play with the young audience members.
My two year old was immediately transfixed by the twinkling lights and sets, and loved the puppets, especially the larger ones which were skilfully manipulated by their human handlers. The small 2-d puppets interacted enchantingly with the miniature landscapes, depicting the changing seasons in Moominland, although I did feel they were overly simple and could have benefited from some jointed limbs or a little more complexity to really animate them.
He also loved the improvised sections, especially the use of fabric overhead to produce an undersea effect. Props are key with such a young audience and I did wonder if some of the entirely imagined scenarios (such as – ‘pretend to put on a hat’) went over some of the little ones’ heads (no pun intended!). The pre-recorded script was also at times a little difficult to follow. However my child was below the recommended age, and still hugely enjoyed the experience, as did the rest of the audience.
This simple story of friendship, longing and loss, and the cyclical nature of the changing seasons captured the atmosphere of Jansson’s ever popular Moomin books and is the only licensed Moomin theatre show, created in consultation with Sophia Jansson, Tove’s niece. A must for fans and fans-to-be, of all ages.
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