Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Toy Theatre Adaptions

I discovered a blog whose creator has been EXTREMELY talented in creating adaptions of famous literary works, for the toy theatre...simply marvelous!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


In the spirit of Christmas, I offer this link to a video of a 2002 production of Dick Whittington.

Now I fully admit as an American I was totally ignorant of this until recently, but was delighted to watch it. What fun!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Corsican Brothers DVD Reviews

During the recent Thanksgiving holidays in the States, I received the Corsican Brothers DVD in the post. I have finally found the time to view it, and I must say, it was a thrill for this toy theatre novice! It was one of the first toy theatre productions she has ever seen in full, and although nontraditional in presentation (not 'live', etc.), it was a real treat for me.

What are others saying about this particular production? Read on!
...just received my copy of the DVD and although I was concerned about it playing here in Texas, it did, and I might add beautifully. One should also note that this is the full toy theatre script not the cut down version put out by Pollock's in 1974. The extras are great. All together a great job Nigel and well worth the wait.

...If there is anyone in the group who has not seen Nigel Peever's DVD of The Corsican Brothers, run to eBay and buy your copy. I just bought a second one for a Xmas gift. It is that good! A must. Kudos to Nigel and to Peter Baldwin for the excellent intro.

...The Corsican Brothers DVD arrived yesterday. I have watched it tonight and must congratulate you on a very professional production. Walter Elias Disney would have been proud to put his name to such an exciting production. I cannot believe you have only sold eleven copies of this unique DVD; actually you have now sold twelve copies as I have just purchased my second copy. This DVD deserves to reach a much wider audience, not just Toy Theatre enthusiasts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Aladdin Christmas Production

Louise from Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop in London has written to say that " our Christmas performance of Aladdin is being performed by Joe Gladwin."

Anyone who can get to London to see this performance, I highly encourage them to do so. If any reader makes it to there, I'd love to hear all about it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Corsian Brothers DVD is Released!

The Corsican Brothers DVD is now out and available on EBay! Rejoice all toy theatre fans (especially those of us who have never seen a live performance and are starved for any kind of recording of one...well, this isn't exactly 'live', but it's the next best thing in my humble opinion.)

Nigel Peevers is the genius behind this production. Nigel is one talented fellow, who is an actor among other talents. Where he finds the time to do all this, I'll never know, but we are the beneficiaries of his toil. Bless you, Nigel...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NEW Dramatis Personae Catalogue!

There is a new Dramatis Personae catalogue out as of today. As per usual, the Dramatis Personae Booksellers have truly outdone themselves. I don't know what their secret is, but they are able to collect the most astounding array of Theatre/Entertainment ephemera I have ever seen, and present them to the world at large to buy and enjoy. I highly recommend you check them out!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Little Blue Moon Theatre

I was doing an internet search for my friends, George and Ann Neff, and came across your blog on toy theatre, then followed to your Victorian Sex Machine blog. It seemed like you might be interested in our work, which kind of combines both (in some way.) We do erotic toy theatre. Our company, Little Blue Moon Theatre, began in an aphrodisiac factory 6 or so years ago. I have found that the static nature of toy theatre figures make them perfect candidates for bondage, something I didn't realize until a friend pointed out that most of our shows involve bondage...I realized that they don't move anyway, which makes it perfect for them.

Anyway, just thought you might enjoy looking at our site, since we don't ever seem to get to Fargo.

Best to you,

Michael & Valerie Nelson
Magical Moonshine Theatre

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paper Dolls

Ilisha Helfman from Hestia House wrote to share...
Hi Trish,

I wanted to let you know about my paper doll blog where I'm having great fun pretending to be a contestant on "Project Runway" using each week's "NY Times Magazine" cover as my challenge. I have twelve new paper dolls and have chosen one to be me, one to be my model and the rest to be other designers and audience members.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pollock's Toyshop Website

The Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop website has been updated with a new and much improved look as well as new features. Be sure and check them out!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stereographica Sale

Antique Photographica is having another of its periodic sales of all things photographic and optical, including some amazing optical toys such as the panorama above. Be sure and check the sale out - it's well worth it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Swazzle Story

Recently I was contacted by Cindi Zuby about obtaining permission to use some photos I had taken of Luman Coad for posters of a festival taking place this next week in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

She had a fun story to share about when she was over in the UK and visiting with the Punch professor, Robert Styles...
I have to tell you a wonderful moment we had in London with Robert Styles (only true Punch people will get this...) He was telling us about his show that was his "audition" for being accepted as a Punchman. In the middle of the show, as he dropped Judy, he accidentally spit out his swazzle. He said there was a large amount of ad-libbing until he could reach down, pick up the now dirty and gritty swazzle and get it back in his mouth. His version is more hilarious than mine, but it made me wonder --- as all three of us were laughing hysterically in our beers --- who in the world would laugh at the phrase "...and I spit out my swazzle...", let alone know what the hell anyone was talking about!
For funny!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Corsican Brother's Update

So, you might ask, what's the latest on the Corsican Brothers production by Nigel Peever? Well wonder no more - here's a brief update from Nigel himself, via the Toy Theatre list:
I had a very pleasant afternoon with Peter Baldwin at his home yesterday recording the introduction for The Corsican Brothers, He's also very kindly recorded the judge's voice which is easy to replace in the film. Peter has also let me take photographs of the original stage productions poster to include and other goodies, like photocopying the ghost melody music etc so a cracking day.
He went on to explain he's been very busy professionally (he is an actor) so he's had to wedge in his labor of love when time permits. He has many fans (including myself) avidly awaiting the final results!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Zoya Holds Court

I posted here recently about some amazing puppets created by Brian Flavin, based on characters created by a friend of mine, Vanesa. Her ultimate goal was to recreate them all in life-size versions.

Well this week she added another life-size version to her growing collection, for the character of Zoya. As with the others, Zoya is rather special, having not just eyes and mouth, ears and hair, even hands and feet complete with nails, but also detailed (and functional) genitalia.1

Full Credits

Conceptual Design: Vanesa Littlecrow Wojtanowicz and Gypsy-Maria Lorimer
Construction and Technical Design: Brian Flavin

The saga of their construction from the very beginning can be seen here.

1 -I have no idea how or if that will enter into any performance, but I'd love to find out sometime...!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Dramatis Personae: Catalogue 101

A complete set, eight sheets, of “Hodgson’s Characters in the Infernal Secret.” [London]: Hodgson & Co., 1822. Original hand coloring; light toning to edges; nicks to corners and edges, away from images; bright. [$400] One of the less common sets of Hodgson figures, with four shrouded inquisitors and the three sheets of scenarios (a pair to each).
So goes the description on Item #76, in the current Dramatis Personae catalogue, just announced today...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Puppet Avant Garde

Vas and SashaI spent this past week visiting an amazing friend in the wilderness of Minnesota. It's so far off the beaten path, that they are not on Google maps, and it's on purpose. They live in a dome house by their own design, he farms1, she does...well, just about everything. She is a multidisciplinary artist. Trust me, this woman works hard. She's the hardest workin' woman in show business, at least that's my opinion. Anyways, she's damned talented, that's for sure.

I know those of you out there that come here for toy theatre are starting to think, what is this post about?! Well, it's about puppets, that's what. My friend among many, many other things is an comic and cartoon artist. She got it into her head awhile back to bring her creations to life, so to speak, and began a journey of recreating them off the page in puppet form. The photos here show their genesis, from small crude handmade versions, to less crude (but still - purposely - crude-but-improved) versions. Eventually, she made them into large, full-scale versions. Not only are they large scale, but they are detailed down to anatomically-correct genitalia. Yeah, you read right. Also, nipples, piercings, tattoos, fingernails, tongues, teeth, eyelashes...the details are mindboggling and impressive. And yeah, there are damned good reasons for this. If you take the time to not only check out, but delve further into the world of these characters, you'll see why they are made this way. My friend's stories are violent, sexual, disturbing. They are not cute in a Disney sense (although there can be cute moments of a type), but they are not supposed to be. To paraphrase her, she exorcises her demons through her art and writing in these characters and storylines. Those of us lucky enough to run across these stories are invited to come into her looking-glass world if we dare. I hope you do...I dare ya.

Their stories are at Rasputin Catamite, Polska Sucka, Killer Dyke, and Upir's Mark...

1 - He is also an artist, in his spare time!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Toy Theatre Evolution

Change. It's a good thing.

At least that's my personal opinion. It makes life interesting, challenges us.

Toy theatre is currently undergoing a huge revival as well as evolution. One such recent example (albeit only one among many) was Sandow Birk's animated film adaption of Dante's Inferno.

Another is the currently-in-production of the classic The Corsican Brothers. The man behind it all is Nigel Peever, who among his many talents includes being an actor. How he finds the time for all this is beyond me, but we can be thankful he does, because I can tell it will be an amazing piece of entertainment when complete. I'm excited already just from seeing his trailer.

I'll definitely keep readers appraised. Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three Days in May

Catch the highlights of the recent festival here...

Wow, there was even a toy theatre adaption of my all-time favorite comic saga, Krazy Kat & Ignatz Mouse!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Follower Shares

One of the followers of this blog popped up to share her recent project incorporating elements of toy theatre. Quite colorful, creative, and fun!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Corsican Brothers Poster

This is the poster for the soon-to-be-released toy theatre production (on video) of the classic Corsican Brothers.

Produced by Nigel Peever, who is a veritable one-man production company using 21st century computer technology for an 18th century medium. But hey, I'm all for it. Anything that can spread the word about how amazing toy theatre can be (in its myriad of styles, this being just one) is a good thing in my book!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trailer: The Corsican Brothers

An amazing trailer for a production of The Corsican Brothers, by Nigel Peever.

Nigel had this to say about making it...
For the last three months or more my two poor computers have been rendering night and day and I'm finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With twenty-seven and a half minutes "in the can" so far, most of the voices and sound effects all ready to go, and all manner of test edits made while I'm waiting for the darn thing to render, The Corsican Brothers- The Movie is almost complete, so I've knocked together a little trailer at youtube do please drop by and have a look and let me know what ya think.

It's a very 21st century toy theatre production but I've tried to be as faithful as was possible but also taking advantage of the fact that I don't have to use metal slides so the characters can roam freely around the stage (I managed to resist the temptation to make Boissec actually swing his axe) The camera too can be quite mobile.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Childhood Memories

A British artist, living in France, had this to say recently on his blog...
From working on the stage set recently, reminded me of Pollock's Toy Museum in London's East End.

As a young teenager in the 1950's I visited this toyshop many times and have very fond memories of its narrow stairs and tiny rooms, stuffed with wonderful toys - especially penny-plain and twopenny-coloured toy theatres.

It was here that I re-discovered my passion for the theatre. I bought the Adelphi Theatre, built it and acted out plays of my own devising.

The Museum is still there (just!) and can be found at the corner of Whitfield and Scala Street, off the Euston Road. Nearest tube station is Goodge Street.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Interview with Spanish Collector Lucía Contreras

In my house, there was always a toy theater of my father Damian, who is 85 years old. His sister and he invented many stories with this toy during the Spanish Civil War. Miraculously, this toy survived through those terrible years and also survived to my older brothers and me.

From a new interview of Lucía Contreras, who has been featured here before...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Memoriam: Gigi

An online memorial has been set up by friends of Gigi Sandberg, who recently passed on.

Gigi was a mentor to me, as she was to so many. Until I read the details of her life on this memorial page, I had no idea how full and rich a life she led. Truly an amazing person...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Gigi, R.I.P.

From Glen Sandberg comes this news tonight...
Our memories live with the goodness and grace she has left in her wake!

Georgene (Schreiner)(Marshall)(Raymond) Sandberg passed away last night at about 10:30 pm.

She lived her active life to the very end, thanks to surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy for almost ten years after first diagnosis of metastatic cancer. The terminal stage was brief and painless. She died in her sleep after two very active days, a week short of age 83.

We all knew her in the context of her many different interests so I won't try to list them all.
R.I.P., Gigi...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Dramatis Personae Catalogue

The new Dramatis Personae catalogue online. This catalogue has some of the most unique and special ephemera you could find anywhere, including many relating to toy theatre. I highly recommend that you check them out...