Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
29th January 2015

Box Tale Soup never fail to impress me. Having watched their previous productions at The Everyman, of Northanger Abbey and Casting The Runes, I had real high hopes for their latest adaption of G.K Chesterton's novel, ManAlive, and I was certainly not disappointed.

From the very beginning, although there is silent on stage, whilst the two actors are present, but still, in the centre, you can really feel the vibe and energy coming of the characters in an instant, and as soon as music kicks in, and vocals are produced from both on stage, you suddenly feel in awe as you become transported into such a wondrous world. The puppets used are completely handmade, with brilliant touches to clothing, and written book quotes woven into the costumes, they are the real highlights of any show, because Noel and Antonia do a fantastic job in bringing these puppets to life.

But it is the arrival of Innocent Smith that for me sent shivers down my spine, as what arose from a large case was the most magnificent, detailed, and large scaled Puppet, that was brought to life by Noel himself, literally stepping into Smith's shoes. I felt like I had my jaw open for at least two minutes, as all the action faded away and I focused on this amazing creation. The story itself was very slick and fast paced, leaving no plot point unturned. More creations were unveiled, like the flowers, that were placed carefully inside a handmade 'Beacon House' Sign at the back of the stage. More costume was also cleverly used nearing the end of the production, as letters in a court where unraveled to create a tie and neck piece for both Noel and Antonia.

Overall, ManAlive was a beautifully crafted show, with stunning puppet creations and two very strong leading actors, which is the sole reason why Box Tale Soup are very quickly becoming one of my all time favourite theatre companies out there today, and making me very excited to what they will produce next that will grace the stage, because I for one will sure be there to witness it.


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