Minerva was popular among everyone who knew her but her best friend was always her smartphone, never far from her hand everywhere she went through the day and into the night, staying up late when she should be sleeping waiting for just one more message to confirm that she would be invited to the upcoming party.
Instead, it was Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep who came to her, snatching her and carrying her away across oceans and mountains to Mind City where she met Owl who shared her belief that sleep was unnecessary, a new friend and accomplice who set out with her on a quest across the Shadow Kingdom to find secret treasure which would change the realm.
A bedtime story told in the morning when the audience are more likely to be awake, Shadow Kingdom is performed by Japan’s Mochinosha Puppet Company, writer Daniel Wishes and artist Seri Yanai creating the animated adventure live on stage and performing all the parts with recorded music by Elliott Loran played through the speaker system of the upstairs hall of Assembly Roxy which isn’t quite up to the task, the vocals on the opening track somewhat muffled.
That, however, is the only possible criticism of an hour of magical entertainment populated by the Bear in the Moon and his eminently practical wife, the ever-popular DJ Slug and the plethora of woodland animals who populate the Shadow Kingdom who find themselves under the feathered claw of an unexpected dictator who has flown to claim the throne, Minerva masked as a baby deer to move between them unnoticed.
A return to the Fringe from the company who presented the science fiction parable Space Hippo last year, their Shadow Kingdom is equally delightful, enchanting both children and families with their modern approach to the ancient theatrical tradition of shadow puppets, opening the doors of imagination and creating character and dynamic action out of nothing more than light, cardboard and coloured films.
Shadow Kingdom runs at Assembly Roxy until Monday 28th August