Theatre Review: Tomtem by Old Saw at the Little Angel

The pupeteers and Tomtem at the Little Angel

The pupeteers and Tomtem at the Little Angel - Credit: Archant

Old Saw’s debut production Tomtem is one to catch later this year on tour, after a premiere at the Little Angel’s Firsts festival.

The pupeteers and Tomtem at the Little Angel

The pupeteers and Tomtem at the Little Angel - Credit: Archant

“Mummy is this magic?” my daughter whispered to me as a glowing moon appeared to rise into the sky in the darkness at the Little Angel puppet theatre.

Tomtem at the Little Angel

Tomtem at the Little Angel - Credit: Archant

It was certainly a very enchanting start to Tomtem - a simple but very profound tale about the never ending cycle of birth and death.

As harp music played the enigmatic Deer Hunter tune, children in the audience gasped as a little old wizened man took to the stage.

The Tomtem took on life of his own as he took his first steps, thanks to the three puppeteers from Old Saw, and it’s because of genuinely awe inspiring moments like these that I love coming to this gem of a theatre.


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An adaptation of Victor Rydberg’s well-loved Swedish poem, the Tomten is a mythical creature in Scandanavian folklore, said to protect a farmer’s home and children

The Tomtem wanders around the snowy farm in the quiet of the night meeting the cat, patchwork sheep, pigs and cows, and looking into their dreams about springtime through shadow puppetry projected on the wall.

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Death is nostalgically broached through a weary old horse, as shadow puppetry projected on the wall shows us how he used galloping around the fields as a foal.

The reassuringly-voiced narrator repeats lines like, “Winters have come and winters will go, soon it will be spring again,” creating a sense of the infinity of the seasons.

It’s just a pity Old Saw’s stunning production only showcased for two performances as part of the Little Angel’s Firsts festival, designed to showcase emerging talent in the world of puppetry.

It’s worth catching next winter when they take it on tour.

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