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Wordcatcher at the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 17th Oct 2012 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

Molly Freeman - Photo by Jax Braithwaite

Words run away from me … I miss them.

Following the touching and poignant Seemingly Invisible last year, Smoking Apples return to the Blue Elephant Theatre with a new intriguing piece. Using puppetry, physical theatre and live music, its characters try to fix things in place that do not fit together. Through the expert use of failed communication, the audience witnesses how the holes and gaps in this story fill a void rather than leave one. A bizarre tale of something and nothing, of sound and of silence both in the heart and in the mind...

A little female puppet lives in a frame with books as tall as herself. She is an avid reader – just like her human twin Emma. Emma does not speak, she has everything she needs to say written down in her workbook – useful phrases such as “Leave me alone.” A little shy bird tries to befriend her and sits down on Emma’s suitcase but Emma is very protective of her suitcase and rejects the bird’s friendly gesture. A Busker is playing saxophone. George passes by and explains the probability of him passing by and hearing the Busker play – he is a geek obsessed with maths and statistics, and a loner. George soon feels drawn to the equally solitaire Emma who wants nothing to do with him. But maybe the amiable Busker will help.  

This production depicts loneliness and partially self-inflicted isolation. Molly Freeman is very good as the lonely Emma who hides behind her books. Matt Lloyd conveys the isolation and lovable geekiness of George. Hattie Thomas is sweet and caring as the Busker. There are expressive dances like the wonderful book-swapping dance, enchanting and disturbing piano music and impressive puppetry work. All three actors are also skilled puppeteers and make the bird and Emma’s little twin come alive. They are so touching that you want to befriend them immediately. At one point the little female puppet approaches a member of the audience, curious but very gentle, and for once you wish there was more audience participation.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 20 October 2012


Blue Elephant Theatre

59a Bethwin Road,


London SE5 0T


More info on Smoking Apples:


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    This sounds like an amazingly delicate and intimate piece, Carolin. Almost child-like in presentation but complex in its incorporation of different expressive forms! Smoking Apples Theatre seem to be marvelously innovative!
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