Puss in Boots - Lyngo Theatre



‘Puss in Boots' is such a strong story, beautifully told here by the mercurial, talented Patrick Lynch, that one wonders why it doesn’t get more outings. With an utterly captivating, face-licking, tail-wagging cat puppet that morphs into the miracle-working, talking and booted feline, this show ticks all the boxes for fine children’s theatre.

‘We get rose petals, mirrors, water, flour, fruit, vegetables, darts shaped like roses and an arguably superfluous but rather delightful flamingo puppet as Felix, the miller’s youngest son, and his cat set out to seek their fortune. The narrative is warm, witty and compelling. Lynch develops the tale partly as storyteller and partly by hopping adeptly, and sometimes hilariously, in and out of roles. Catching the fish for the king, for example, is great fun

Marcello Chiarenza’s set is neat and, presumably, readily transportable on tour: a wedge-shaped mini-stage that allows Lynch to descend into a trap, climb away into the upstage space behind it and open and close flaps at the front.

The final moralising minute falls flat and the piece should really end when it reaches the words “happily ever after”. But that’s a pretty minor gripe about an engaging and enjoyable show.


Putting on stage Puss in Boots, with its clever talking cat, king and court in their carriages, beautiful princess and ogre in his castle, is a pretty ambitious undertaking. Don’t expect pantomime spectacle from Lyngo Theatre but do expect theatre magic and you won’t be disappointed.

Aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds, this is a delightful retelling that seemed to totally captivate the packed school audience with whom I saw it.The theatre was full of excited chatter and there was a great whoop as the lights went down.

I don’t know what they were expecting but they loved what they got. That was just one actor (Patrick Lynch) relying on talent, imagination, the clever design by Marcello Chiarenza and Elena Marini, Carlo Cialdo Capelli’s music and rich warm lighting to bring the familiar story to life.

The simple setting could fit almost any sized venue. It is a sloped rostrum with a backcloth behind it but it is fitted out with trap doors and drawers that can provide a lake to jump into, an oven to bake bread in and a ramp down which to chase mice or roll the riches of the lands that belong to the ogre—and a hideaway behind which more props can be appear from.

When Lynch appears, coming up from that hideaway preceded by flourish of music and light, he starts telling the tale of the hard-up miller with three sons, fitting in a flour-dusted description of how flour gets milled and is turned into bread complete with grain grinding and a fiery-fuelled oven for baking.

Continuing the story with how the eldest son was left the mill, the next his dad’s donkeys and Felix, the youngest, just a cat, Lynch then becomes Felix, with the cat a glove puppet with bright eyes and a lively red tongue. Puss not only understands what Felix says but can communicate back, this soon setting things in motion with a plan to make Felix’s fortune, though at first he will have to go hungry unless he is prepared to eat mice.

Lynch creates close rapport with his audience; they are with him every inch of the way. Even when he is absent for several moments doing something out of sight, the atmosphere remains one of concentration, helped by well matched music.

Lynch handles everything except light and sound cues (and a smoke effect that is part of the lighting plot). He is puppeteer, prop man and storyteller as well as playing both Puss and Felix and dealing with lots of other things while still giving a delightful performance. A show that has been very carefully planned is excellently executed.

This Puss in Boots lasts just under an hour, well within the youngsters’ attention span, and its performance style made it just as enjoyable for accompanying adults. Lynch and his Lyngo team make shows worth catching if they are all as good as this one.

It was clear from a Q & A at the end that the satisfied audience had also been fascinated by the way effects had been achieved. It had been an excellent introduction to theatre for those who were seeing their first show—and there were quite a number of them for this was one of Polka’s Curtain-Up!Performances.

This is a scheme, privately sponsored, that allows schools that could not otherwise afford to do so, to bring parties of pupils entirely for free (and with help for transport costs too when it is needed). Schools have to meet certain criteria but in tough times it is a splendid initiative.


By Emily Oldfield

A one-man show telling the story of Puss in Boots came to the stage of Hulme’s Z-arts Centre last weekend. Presented by Lyngo Theatre, the performance formed part of a weekend of events within Manchester Children’s Book Festival’s 2017 programme.

The classic tale of a cat who realises he can walk and presents himself to the king was, in this version, seen from the point of view of the owner of the cat – played with great energy by Cbeebies’ Patrick Lynch.  There was also a free art cart before and after performances allowing the young people to interpret what they see.

Initial focus on Lynch’s character, a mill worker, allowed the young audience to look to him also as narrator, a welcome source of storytelling. The use of a single raised and sloped area as a stage was particularly notable, increasing the intensity and visibility of the opening scene in which the miller is floundering around in the flour – to great comic effect for the children.

Lynch has mastered the art of keeping his comedy silly and family-friendly, rather than farcical. The sloped stage allowed his body to slip and slide and he worked with this movement throughout the performance to keep things animated but never excessive.

Other examples of where movement was used to keep attention on the stage – showing key awareness in keeping a young audience occupied – was when Lynch became the arms of a windmill and also doubled-up as puppet master, managing to control a mouse, dog and cat all at once for an entertaining ensemble of animals. For a one-man show, it certainly was animated and the absence of other actors did not detract from the fun.

The introduction of cat as a puppet was potentially symbolic as it suggested to the children that it isn’t size or stature that makes people significant in life. Rather, it is their eagerness to get involved and their enthusiasm. Conveying moralistic potential in this way – not overtly, but through the suggestions behind actions on stage – meant that enjoyment was not compromised either.

There were nothing but smiles as Lynch clambered around the stage, rolling various fruits down it in an attempt to claim ownership of the land and the attention of a princess. Even his naming of individual items – potatoes, lemons and the rest – ensured there was an easy-to-follow aspect for youngest members of the audience. It was recommended that the show was suitable for ages 4+ and even the younger children seemed to enjoy themselves.

Even more significant, was that adults also appeared well-occupied, as the miller’s dialogue was both extensive and expressive, telling a full story alongside the actions. One parent said: “Our whole family really enjoyed it. We found it simple yet admirably effective and we loved how the single actor engaged with the audience at various points yet still presented a full production to us.

“I have to say that, originally, I had my doubts, but they were completely blown away by this performance. There were no children attempting to get out of their seats, which seems to be the case when watching so many ‘family-friendly’ plays nowadays. It’s been part of a really fun programme of events from Manchester Children’s Book Festival. We went to the family fun day on Saturday and loved the arts network area in particular!”

As the play unfolded, the use of its staging and effects became more apparent, the use of darkness allowing the stage lighting to be intensified, for example when the ogre is introduced. In this sense, it allowed the light to convey movement and character and keep the play very much one-man.

An aspect of the play deserving particular praise was the versatility of the stage, upon which a number of trap doors were opened in order to introduce new settings: one even became a hole into the river into which Lynch tries to disappear! At first it seemed this method of introducing new settings may have been too subtle, but the audience did seem very much engaged by it. The use of clothing and the situations they conveyed was also effective without being too overt; from dusty mill-clothes to the uniform of attempting to be the Marquis.

In all, an admirable and highly animated re-telling of the classic Puss In Boots tale which also explores the morals behind authority and symbolism in a subtle way to children, whilst remaining well-balanced and enjoyable.

Review: Puss in Boots – Polka Theatre, Wimbledon

We took our recently-turned 6 year old to Puss in Boots yesterday at the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon.

This one-man production performed by Patrick Lynch (C-Beebies), presented by Lyngo Theatre and written by Marcello Chiarenza is children’s theatre and the Polka at its best.

The classic tale was simply but very effectively staged and kept the audience (this performance was for all ages) entertained.  In fact there were times that the young audience participated in response to what they were watching which was most satisfying. The music was also excellently arranged, creating the atmosphere and encouraged the imagination..

Patrick Lynch moves from character to character effortlessly and convincingly and does not falter during the 50 minute duration of the play.  A star performance and a performer truly engaged with his young audience.

From explanation to how wheat becomes flour, very warm overall and funny at times this is a script delivering on many levels to both young and old.

The play runs until 28 June 2015 and is well worth a visit.

Rating: 5 stars