• Amy Toledano

I Want My Hat Back presented by The Little Angel Theatre

What Is It?

Ian Nicholson and Sam Wilde’s adaptation of Jon Klassen’s family-friendly picture book, ‘I Want My Hat Back’, in the form of an 8-minute puppet show. Every part of the production, from puppet design to music, was created entirely using what the artists had available to them in their homes during lockdown.

What Is It About?

Bear’s hat is gone. He wants it back. And by golly, he’ll get it back. We join him on his mission to find it.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

Oh, my heart. This is so sweet. It’s an action-packed eight minutes. Bear goes through a whole journey, and he ends up somewhere quite different to where he started.

The puppet design and articulation is gorgeous and expressive, and Ian Nicholson is a brilliant puppeteer. He brings each character to life, no matter how brief the appearance, and his different voices and facial expressions are fantastic, funny, and subtly intricate. In his interpretation of the characters there is even room for adults rather than children to get the full benefit of a joke. Look out for the ennui-laden ‘can you believe this guy’ moment. Also, the very end. After a well-executed moment of revelation, the action takes a darker turn, without ever losing any of its humour and charm. Rather the opposite.

A wonderful touch is how polite Bear remains throughout, making sure to thank everybody he meets, no matter how strangely they respond. Even if they seem to be too defensive, or are wearing hats that seem suspiciously like the one he’s lost. Even though he is in a hurry to find his hat before it’s gone forever, he still stops to help the exhausted Tortoise. Perhaps this is a tidy little lesson to children and adults both. Be polite and kind, because you never know what somebody is going through. Even if swift retribution should follow. Or something to that effect.

This is a sweet and funny mood-lifter, suitable for children of all ages. I keep watching it for a quick laugh. It’s becoming memetic in the household. The music is charming and acts as perfect accompaniment. It may get stuck in your head. Most of all it is commendable that the team put together a production of this quality under lockdown conditions and limitations, and in such good humour.

Anything Else?

Visit the Little Angel Theatre on Twitter @LittleATheatre for additional goodies. There you’ll find delightful snippets from behind-the-scenes, as well as tips, tricks and resources if you want to get creative and have a go at making your own puppets. You can also see some lovely examples others have shared.

Arden x

I Want My Hat Back will be streaming for free on the Little Angel Theatre’s YouTube channel until Monday 27th April 2020.

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