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Mr Monkey sees The Tear Thief at the Royal Exchange Studio

Venue : Royal Exchange Studio
Start date: 11th December 2012
End date : 29th December 2012
Visit date : 12th December, 2012
Mr Monkey looking at the poster for The Tear Thief Mr Monkey scurried into Manchester for the morning performance of The Tear Thief.

The Tear Thief is an adaptation, by the Little Angel Theatre, of Carol Anne Duffy's book. Based in Islington, Little Angel Theatre has been operating since 1961 and is one of only two English puppet theatre groups that have a permanent home.

The play shows one night in the life of the Tear Thief, a stange fairy-like creature who apparently lives on the moon. Every night the Tear Thief chooses one street and visits every house where a child is crying, carrying the tears off in a waterproof sack. This seems rather odd behaviour, but it does get explained.

The Tear Thief herself appears as a number of puppets of different sizes, expertly manipulated by Claire Harvey and Lowri James, who also work all the other characters.

Much of the action takes place in individual rooms, which are all held in a pair of houses that reminded Mr Monkey of traditional Punch and Judy style boxes. The play is accompanied by live music played by James Hesford, and there is some recorded music and some narration by Juliet Stevenson as well. Mr Monkey was a little perturbed by the narration at first, but it turned out to only be partial and to explain the inexplicable, and fitted in well.

At 45 minutes, the play is exactly the right length, and Mr Monkey found it so engrossing that he was startled when a chance movement reminded him it was a puppet show.

Mr Monkey thoroughly enjoyed The Tear Thief and thought it was a strong, strangely beautiful, and surprisingly emotional performance.

The Tear Thief runs at the Royal Exchange Studio until December 29th 2012.

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