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Puppets At The



A dragon who breathed smoke, a skeleton whose bones danced phosphores- cent arabesauc in the spooky dark, a circus con- tortionist who tied himsell in knots, and a dog who juggled a ball on his nose were popular successes in the performance given at the Mercury Theatre on Sat- urday afternoon by the Meryla Puppets.

Norman Hetherington, who made and manipulated the dolls, staged "The Reluctant Dragon" and "The Circus" with wit. whimsy, and lively inventiveness. He worked with a professional conscience to avoid the fumb- ling hobbyism that can often mar shows bf this kind.

Sometimes, though, he could have spoken more loudly and distinctly, to point up the humour, and to make his char- acters heard above the young audience's steady murmur of delight and wonder. Sometimes, too, he absentrm'ndedly forgot to persevere with his vocal char- acterisations^ which were other-

wise entertaining.


The dolls themselves had obviously been made with lots of fun. The corpulent dragon looked as if he might have been a bank director until he began to talk like a village idiot. The heroic knight, sounding like Colonel Blimp in his club, had a puce nose like the processes «round a turkey's beak. The two-part horse had the authen- tic horse-laugh, nearly all teeth.

The fatter of the two clowns, too, had "plus" signs for eyes. This was a novel comment on the sign of multiplication that many a roving eye still carries in the outside world.-L.B.

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Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
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