Review: Leaf By Niggle

Puppet State Theatre Company
20th, 22nd, 24th, 26th, 28th August
Storytelling Centre
3 Stars (3 / 5)

Richard Medrington (of Puppet State Theatre Company) talks the audience through the history of his family heirlooms on the stage then plods with us through a heartwarming and gentle rendition of Tolkien’s ‘Leaf By Niggle’. A story of the power of imagination, nature and life after death – the themes are explored sweetly and with just enough humour to not make anything too bleak.

This is more of a reading than a story telling. The love felt for Tolkien by the reader is pure and is shown perhaps more than a love of the material. The story itself raises the star rating of Leaf By Niggle from a two to a three – the quality of writing in its own right is what makes this show such a compelling listen, not specifically the telling of it.

There is a moment of pure prop joy, involving a night time bike ride and a dynamo light that is genuinely beautiful. However, it seems that, in a story with strong themes of nature and sunlight, tricks were missed in favour of shoe-horning the narrators antiques into the scene. What begins as an engaging flick through Medrington’s belongings, feels a laboured and forced towards the end.

This story is a warm hug and a blanket on a miserable day. Medrington’s voice is a welcome antidote to an incredibly busy outside world. If you are in need of a breather and an early bed time story, then this is one for you.