The Stage Review

13 December 2011

  • MIKI IS FUN, FRESH AND EMPHASISES THE IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP *

Wrap up warm for Miki’s midwinter adventures. Slot Machine, which last year broke box office records with its debut children’s show One Snowy Night, is back with a production which truly evokes the Polar Regions.

Amelia Pimlott’s effective set is imaginatively lit by Matt Biss, with stunning sound effects by Dafydd Owens, and the show’s three characters – Miki, an Inuit girl, and her friends Penguin and Polar Bear – may be little more than soft toys on the surface, but with the help of puppeteers Chand Martinez, Paul Sockett and Anna Martine, they quickly come to life for their young audiences who alternate between giggling with delight and total transfixion. Miki is fun-loving. Penguin is a comic who talks in truncated sentences and is easily frightened, while Polar Bear is slow and lovable.

When Miki falls through the ice, she finds a magical underwater world inhabited by funny fish, coloured bubbles, and friendly creatures who help her to get home. It is also where Anna Martine comes into her own as a life-size Miki, ’swimming’ her way around the stage.

A worthy successor to One Snowy Night, Miki is fun, fresh and emphasises the importance of friendship.

Reviewed by Clare Brotherwood

© 2011

Maidenhead Advertiser Review

06 December 2011

  • THE PRODUCTION IS A BEAUTIFUL BLEND OF PUPPETRY AND LIVE ACTION *

In an icy land a colossal polar bear, a pint sized penguin and an Eskimo girl battle against the elements in a life changing adventure, No, Norden Farm’s latest Christmas show, Miki, isn’t a stage adaptation of David Attenborough’s popular TV programme Frozen Planet, but a story of friendship, courage and hope.

Based on a children’s picture book, written by Stephen Mackey, Miki is a tale told about a magical midwinter eve, when Miki and her two frozen friends set out to look for a beautiful star to brighten their icy world.

Disaster strikes when Miki falls through the ice and sinks bellow the sea, but all is not lost as the magic of this special day takes her to the bottom of the ocean, where a new world reveals itself. The production is a beautiful blend of puppetry and live action, with a cast of just three multi talented actors also having to sing, dance and produce funny voices for the puppets.

With so much to do, these Jacks’ of all trades could easily have proved the old cliché true, but they were masters of all they did, keeping the audience enchanted for the entire 50 minute production.
The real stars of the show though, especially for the younger members of the audience, were the puppets. Hand crafted treasures that if this was a Disney production, would by now be the number one best selling toys for Christmas.

Truthful representations of the original story book’s artful illustrations, the puppets presence packed a punch, but they needed a hand to bring them to life and live they did.

The cast of critters is many, with cameo appearances form jelly fish and a narwhal that really seemed to be swimming through the briny depths. And a giant crab that snapped it’s way round the stage to great comic effect. All believable, with their own particular personalities produced by the skillful puppeteers.

David Attenborough’s current TV classic can be a bit grim at times, but Miki’s personal frozen planet is an enchanting place, full of love and friendship, that I hope will prove as popular and become a classic Christmas show.

Scarlett Phillips, seven, said: “I liked it a lot, especially Miki. I wish I could do what she did and go under the sea and meet all the animals. I liked the penguin when he wished he was a fish. That was very funny.”

Reviewed by Matthew Phillips

© 2011