“I Want My Hat Back” Trilogy at Little Angel Studios – 29/05/22


When she has a new game to play, it takes quite a lot to lure Eva out of her cave but a Little Angel show will do the trick. We were already in Islington for church but she seemed keen on the idea of heading on afterwards rather than getting home and back onto “Stardew Valley” as quickly as she could. Kudos to Little Angel. This show was aimed at 3-6-year-olds and Eva is somewhat older than that, but she is also a girl of no peril-tolerance so these gentle shows are fine by her.

“I Want My Hat Back” is billed as a trilogy but don’t worry – it won’t take up an entire waking day like the Lord of the Rings trilogy would. Instead, it’s more like a 35-minute triptych – three sweet stories revolving around how much animals love hats. Two of the stories have a slightly dark ending but it’s all for comedy effect so none of the littlies seemed particularly traumatised.

Eva was charmed by the set, which was a miniature theatre within the actual theatre we were sitting in. She later noticed an even smaller theatre-shaped set off to the left. A theatre within a theatre within a theatre! The show was performed by two actors – I believe we saw Imogen Khan and actor-director Ian Nicholson. The puppets weren’t the typical ones we usually see at Little Angel as I think they were made out of cardboard. Still, they were very versatile and I particularly enjoyed the way that the eyes moved to express all kinds of emotions. The puppets also had different variants for whether the creatures were standing, lying down or even running with windmill legs, Roadrunner-style.

The first story was, if you like, the origin story. A bear loses a hat and goes on a journey to find it. None of the stories had complex plots but it was all about the execution, and that was done with a lot of charm and humour. The language was very simple – which worked for the age of the audience – and visual effects were used to establish the changes of scene. For the first story, autumn leaves were thrown out to the audience and then for the second story, the performers blew bubbles under blue lighting to show that we were now, as Sebastian might say, Under the Sea.


This story was Eva’s favourite because she thought that the whale – who didn’t speak but was nonetheless very expressive – was hilarious. She also maintained that it wasn’t a whale because the little fish had described it as a “big fish” and we all know that whales are mammals. Don’t let the pedant spoil this segment. Just assume that a small kleptomaniac fish isn’t well versed on animal taxonomy.

What I would recommend at this point is bringing along your own fish. I believe there’s a template and tutorial on the Little Angel website on how to make your fish but the audience is called upon to make their fish dart, dive and dance. If you don’t have a fish, you can use your hand but the children who were clutching cardboard fish looked very pleased with themselves during this segment and your child could be one of those. Mine wasn’t. But she improvised with her half-eaten baguette.

Photo-by-Suzi-Corker.-Performers-Imogen-Khan-and-Ian-NicholsonAnd so onto the third story, where two turtles find a hat and idly fantasise about what it would be like if they had two hats. This story had my favourite of the visual effects – a starry sky that encompassed the whole room and a dazzling use of discoball-technology to reflect the light. It was a beautifully wistful dreamscape and a nice contrast with the darker endings of the other two stories. That’s following the trilogy rules right there…the third party of a trilogy must always subvert your expectations.

For 35 minutes, there was a lot packed in. Three stories, what seemed like hundreds of different puppets and a lot of fun with tumbleweed. It’s a smallish space so might sell out quickly but get along and see it if you can. It’s on until the end of July.


Disclaimer: I received free tickets in exchange for a review. All opinions remain honest and my own. 

For more details and tickets, click here

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