I paid a visit to Matchstick Theatre, a new venue in Deptford, to see a new play, Wunderkammer by Francesca Pazniokas. This unusual, inventive play told the story of a bunch of taxidermied animals brought to life by a mysterious youngster.
Though short, the play packed a surprising amount in, focusing on the experiences of the newly-enlivened animals, a motley crew including a dog, a bear, two kittens, a badger, an armadillo and an albatross. After the death of their ‘keeper’, the original taxidermist, the bunch are left searching for a new leader. Some of the animals were sweet and funny – I particularly loved the budding relationship between the armadillo and the badger (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write), while others were more sinister.
The play was obviously produced on a budget, but I loved the inventiveness of the costumes, puppets and sets. Particularly impressive were the complex chain reactions which produced sound and light effects. The story was warm and affecting, centring around the idea of belonging and of being the ‘keeper’ of one’s own life, while the dark fairytale aspect of the story kept it interesting.
I really enjoyed this unusual tale, and I hope to visit this venue again.