shadow puppets on the south bank

Last night Viviane, Gary and I celebrated moving into our new studio, where we went to see a performance on the south bank by Viv’s friend and art school classmate Matthew Robins, his partner and puppeteer Tim Spooner and a band of musicians. The show was wonderfully low-tech: Matthew played piano and sang the story, while Tim worked organisational magic, getting all the little bits of paper onto the screen for the first story, and in the third story, using layers of video projection, paper backgrounds and puppets. The enormous concrete chimney of the National Theatre made an amazing screen.

Here’s Viv with Matthew in the bar afterward:

Matthew was talking about the low-tech elements of the show, and how he’d had to convince his talented musicians not to sound ‘too good’, more like a high school band. He has a lot of writing and cutting-out work still to do; the group are doing a different show at the NT for the next four weekends and he still has to come up with next week’s story, Flyboy and the Haunted Horse. He also commented that a lot of people compare his lettering to Rob Ryan‘s, but wryly said that, unless people make a serious effort to do a very fancy font, letters cut out of paper just tend to look like that. (Which I think is true, chamonkee often does similar lettering and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t been influenced by Rob Ryan.) I’m surprised Matthew hasn’t been snatched up by a picture book publisher yet, his work would transfer almost seamlessly to printed books.

Here’s the schedule at the National Theatre. He’s asking for people to knit a dinosaur for his show on 15 Aug, and to bring it along to the show before 9:45 so it can be included.

The robot in Flyboy and the Robot was brilliant. (Here he’s catching runaway wolves from the zoo.)

In three scenes, he added some colour:

Here you can see the setup a bit better, this one was a hilarious story called Nosferatu and Me, where they mostly ride around on their bicycles and then rent a DVD in the evening, but it’s all a bit awkward when Nosferatu gets too friendly.

Here’s the first scene in the story and a photo of Tim doing the puppeteering:

Gary and I both had very sore arms from carrying my very heavy work desk from the market to the studio (and then all the other stuff like painting). So we were glad for the chance to chill out for the evening. (And thank goodness it didn’t rain, we were all sitting in deck chairs in the open air for the show.)

This last one’s from The Sad Story of the Wicker Cat.

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