Sean Taylor’s Where the Bugaboo Lives tells of Floyd and Ruby, a brother and sister who go into the valley of shadows beyond their house where it is said that the Bugaboo lives. They must outwit the various different kinds of monster they encounter before returning to the safety of home and Mum.
Taylor’s book comes wrapped in an interactive, which-way format that adapts very well to the Little Angel’s live Zoom performance for 5-11 year olds, which uses interactive polls (Marmite or jam, uphill or downhill?) to increase the level of children’s involvement.
Photos by Ellie Kurttz.
A single performer (Roberta Livingston) tells the story with oomph in Samantha Lane's production, which has fun with a series of boxes, each containing a different puppet monster which Floyd and Ruby must outwit with a mix of ingenuity and bravery. Can they distract the Flibbertygibbet which wants to trap them and get the better of the Bugaboo that may—or may not—want to eat them? I rather fell for the swamp monster covered with slime.
It’s gentle stuff, probably better geared to the younger ages in the suggested range, but if Taylor’s story lacks originality it is delivered with oodles of low-key charm and a DIY aesthetic that slightly recalls children’s TV circa 1967. Unlike so much 21st century kids’ TV, whose slick production values and execution seldom leave room for the child’s imagination, this 'poor theatre' puppet show is definitely in the business of making space for children to bring their own transforming creativity to the event. It is they, as much as the performer, who turn the puppets into monsters in their mind’s eye. It’s that which makes it genuinely interactive, not the Zoom polls.
You can watch Where the Bugaboo Lives until Sunday 2 May. Tickets here.