DrBWirral wrote in Dec 2019
A wonderful experience for the whole family
"A party of two adults and one five year old girl attended. Our daughter was mesmerised by the show and both adults enjoyed it thoroughly.
Itís like a nostalgic step back in time, with a marionette production, ice cream interval, interactive magic show, all of the children were given sweets, and finally a demonstration of how the marionettes are operated. It was a 2 hour experience and excellent value for money.
G E wrote in Oct 2019
Brilliant professional show
"I have lived in the area for four years and had not visited before - our 4 year old grand daughter and family were staying for a few days, so this was a good excuse. Once in the 1950's theatre, it was brilliant.
The old seats are comfortable and as soon as Chris Somerville (for that is who we presume it was, the owner) came on stage, is was obvious he was a realpro.
The show was based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. He gave a short history of Alice and her connection to Llandudno and disappeared to allow the marionettes to work their magic.
There was a short 'magic' show which in thralled the children in the audience, to the amusement of the adults and finally he brought several puppets onto the stage to perform and we could see how he worked them so very skillfully.
Thank you for some very professional entertainment - we'll be back."
Welshgirl wrote in Aug 2019
Wonderful place to visit!
"I loved this experience! Daughter thoroughly enjoyed herself, the older gentleman was an absolute sweetheart and so good with the children! He must be very proud and the lovely old music was refreshing as well as the traditional puppet show, very talented we are lucky to have such a wonderful experience in north wales, will be returning and recommending!! Thank you X
Paul S wrote in Aug 2019
Puppets, Magic and a Wonderful Show
"We'd been meaning to visit the Theatre for some time, living locally, but we managed finally to do so two days ago. We'd booked by phone, a recorded message giving quite a lot of detail and we then arrived just before the start of the show. I'm old enough to remember when marionettes were featured quite frequently on television but this was the first time I'd seen a live show. What was great was that old and young were united in their enjoyment of a spellbinding display of skill woven into the story of Hansel and Gretel. The puppet master was also the ticket seller and the scene changer so he was kept extremely busy. The first half was the puppet show, almost like a pantomime in miniature, the theatre being so evocative of the era of theatre and music hall. Then an interval where ice cream could be purchased for a very reasonabld 75p from the puppeteer in a new role, followed by a magic show involving the children in the audience taking part. Lots of clapping and shouting, joined in by all. Our grandson is 9, and wise to the world of technology, be it games or movies, but he was transfixed along with the other children, and adults. Finally, there was a demonstration of the art of the puppeteer, watching his movements and those of the puppets forming a graceful unity. I could say much, much more, but all I will say is look for the theatre and pay a visit. It really is magic."
Frances J wrote in Jul 2019
Very good entertainment for the whole family
"There is so much to a visit to the Harlequin Puppet
Theatre. The theatre itself is beautiful and charming and quite unique. The programme is varied and appeals to all ages. It has a fairy type story to start. Then a magic show ( clever) and then an exhibition of different puppets in action becoming more and more intricate as the different characters are introduced.
The puppeteer is master at his art. He chooses volunteers from the children in the audience and is excellent in his interaction with them . When he chose my grandson to help I told him that he didn't speak English and he said it didn't matter and it didn't!
I am one of those mentioned elsewhere here who didn't see the attraction for an adult in watching a puppet show , but after the first visit went again the next school holiday and am now looking forward to this summer's season opening next week!
One point , the telephone booking hasn't got a very clear signal but it always works and you always have a booking.
One of the best entertainments I saw in 2019"
Sally A wrote in June 2019
Watch a master at work
"A charming if somewhat dated tiny theatre which apparently began in 1958. I have friends and colleagues now in their 60s who remember going as small children. I somehow doubt it has changed much. It now is run single handedly by Chris Somerville, an original puppeteer. He deals with bookings, front of house, bringing the marionettes to life, changing sets, performing magic tricks, demonstrating how the marionettes work, and so much more with quiet aplomb.
We were a group of 4 adults with one 5 year old. There were around
Lyndon wrote 30 December 2018
What a Great Show
Went here today with the family. What a great show. Aladin was the puppet show for Christmas and was performed brilliantly in this little puppet theatre.
If you are looking for something to do with the family that's different and great for all ages and is reasonably priced this is ticks the boxes.
The pupeteer is really talented and the show is engaging. Very well done !
Shirley H wrote Sep 2018
What a magic afternoon!
"We went to the theatre as a family treat at the end of our holiday in North Wales. All of the party ages 4-76 thoroughly enjoyed a very professional show. The puppetry skills were superb and it was wonderful to a wide range of beautifully made marionettes.
The delivery was slick and appropriate and had the children and adults entranced. The magic tricks were predictable but still made us all laugh and wonder how they actually worked.
The cost for a 90 minute show was sensible and the ice creams were only 75p each.
Chris the Puppetmaster obviously loves what he does and involved the children and adults in his show.
My favourite marionette was the violinist in the second half.
Well worth a visit if you are in the area."
Emily R wrote Aug 2018
Good old-fashioned fun!
"Took my five year old to see the show and we were enthralled from start to finish! She loved helping out with the magic show but was equally as fascinated by the beautiful puppets. They were truly brought to life and the puppetry was so skilled and a pleasure to experience. We will be returning. A wonderful memory was made"
sarahcH1228GS wrote Aug 2018
Lovely family fun
"Had the pleasure of discovering this lovely theatre today . Myself and my young son aged 8 are on a holiday in wales and looked online and found this gem . My son has autism and loves to perform his own puppet shows daily and he was fascinated by this theatre . A lovely one man show that was nostalgic and really family orientated . The children were all giggling away . It was a pleasure to spend time in the company of someone who clearly loves his craft so much . We will return when we are back in wales ."
mermaidgirl79 wrote Apr 2018
Kids loved it!
"I came here as a kid several times and absolutely loved it, I had always wanted to bring my kids here but thought that it had closed. I was so happy to find out it was still going. My kids 4 and 8 both really enjoyed it and I was worried it might be a bit boring for the eldest but she asked to go again sometime.
The only negative is that it was so empty, only about 3 rows were filled which seemed a shame but it was a rare sunny day so maybe people were making the most of it.
The theatre is perhaps ever so slightly run down but I think it adds charm and since I havenít been for about 30 years I was relieved to see it exactly the same.
The man who runs the entire thing single handedly is warm and welcoming and brilliant with the kids. He makes the whole puppet thing look easy but Iím positive itís not.
Itís brilliant value for money and such a different experience for kids."
Karen P wrote in Apr 2017
Wonderful afternoon of fun!
"I took my boys to the puppet theatre for a treat..my youngest son has Autism so it was with some anxiety about how he would react that we entered.
The owner was welcoming and friendly, he showed us to our seats.
As soon as the puppet show started my son was happy and sat with no problems watching the show.
After the interval the owner performed a magic show which my eldest son helped with a magic trick.
Then an opportunity to see the puppets in action and how they are brought to life.
A lovely show..well worth the money! A great cosy theatre and a real hit with my Autistic son! Will definately visit again!"
Julie P wrote Apr 2017
A little piece of historical magic!
"Tucked away in Rhos on Sea, just off the sea front is this magical place. Puppeteer Chris was the owner and host and he really does have some wonderful marionettes aged over 100 years. Our three and five year olds were mesmerised. Sad to say, Chris does this all by himself and I fear for the future of this place in maybe twenty years time. The history in the auditorium itself, let alone in the puppets, of which we saw only maybe 20, was amazing. His working of them is an art in itself. A wide range of shows are offered throughout the year, we saw a circus style show, with a second half of magic and seeing Chris work the puppets! Well worth a visit, however old or young! Nanny and Grandad loved it as much as their grandchildren! Thanks Chris, I really wished we lived closer and could share in your skills to keep your legacy going."
LawranceTravelle Jan 2017
Family Entertainment as it Used to Be
"We went to the Harlequin Theatre on Boxing Day - self, my children, my son in law and my three granddaughters. We are glad we went. We love puppets/marionnettes (regulars at the Puppet Barge when it is in Little Venice) but were unaware that we had booked accommodation so close to the UK's first permanent puppet theatre.
We have never been to a show which is so one man. Box office, front of house, ice creams at interval, puppetry and conjuring were all done buy Chris - a real gent, good with children, fun and professional.
The show started with what was effectively a variety performance involving puppets - toys in Santa's workshop. I think our girls could have done with a bit more story line, to be honest, but they enjoyed this. There was a bit of a sense of timewarp - songs like "Me and my teddy bear" took me back. Black and white minstrels and dancing golliwogs ditto - not seen recently in North London puppet shows, that's for sure.
After the interval we had excellent conjuring which the children enjoyed hugely - two of our three being taken on stage to "help". Chris' rapport with children even when they weren't fully easy to work with was very clear here. That includes very young children.
Finally, we had the marionettes again - this time with Chris visible on stage, demonstrating how it is done. It was effectively more "variety". The final act, a marionnette which was controlling another marionette, was quite stunning.
All in all, a great time. Almost 2 hours of entertainment at £6 per adult, £5 per child. A sense of old fashioned fun. Definitely worthwhile going.
I ought to say that I wasn't totally comfortable with the golliwogs in the early part of the show, and at the same time felt that there was no ill-intention - the audience was of various races, people commented at the interval, no one took offence and every one enjoyed the show to the end. So I mention it for information - different families can make their minds up. We would go again."
elaine-7 wrote Oct 2016
"We have just watched the hansel and gretal performance with our 6 and 3 year old boys. What an absolutely amazing show. The children were absorbed from the very start and to think I was worried the 3 year old would get bored! He was actually stood up in his seat with eyes wide, clapping most enthusiastically throughout! The magic show was the 6 year olds favourite because he got to go onstage and help out (thank you for that!) and the 3 year old loved the boogie men and the Halloween skeleton! I cannot describe how amazing this place is. Please take your children here and if you don't have children,then go anyway. The marionette cabaret was mesmerising the way the puppeteer brings the puppets alive. I could have stayed all day and we were all sad when it was over. We will definitely visit again. Thank you very much!"
sesameseed_13 wrote Aug 2016
Original puppet show experience
"Lovely puppet show with a difference, puppets I haven't seen before. My 6 and 9 year old both really enjoyed it. Really simple good humour. Quaint purpose built theatre, with ice cream interval, magic show and show you how the puppets work at the end. For 90 mins well worth this lovely experience."
Martine101 wrote Feb 2016
Memorable entertainment for children (old and young)
"I first visited the Harlequin Puppet Theatre as a child just a few years after it opened in 1958. I decided to go back there a few days ago (some 50 years later) to renew my memories of it, and I was not disappointed. This beautiful little theatre still has the same charm as it did all those years ago. My partner and I not only enjoyed the entertaining and expert show of puppetry, but also the showmanship and charm of Chris Somerville who had his young audience totally absorbed and excited by his magic tricks. Thank you Mr Somerville, and I hope that anyone reading this with young children will go along to your show and give their children a real treat and some lovely memories."
wilko999 wrote Feb 2016
Amazing old theatre.Great man, Chris, who owns it / performs.
"Went today and Chris was VERY welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble and he was a true gentleman and dressed very smartly in suit and tie. The show was great and the skill in making the puppets move was amazing! Then came the magic, he kindly got my autistic son involved, and was very very good with him, as he was with all the children! Finally he showed us him working the puppets without being behind the scenes and again, amazing skill! A truly magical, old fashioned experience that we will never forget. Thankyou xxx"
kisalsera wrote a review Feb 2016
A master puppeteer who is also really lovely with children
"We have been to see most of the shows here over the last two years. My daughter has enjoyed them since she was two years old and my son (nearly seven) still adores them. They always follow the same format: main show, magic show then Marionette Cabaret (when the puppeteer comes onstage with string puppets so you can watch how he makes them dance and 'sing'). In the magic show he invites children to help with the magic, which the children are thrilled by. My favourite part is the Marionette Cabaret, as I am always blown away by the skill and artistry of this master puppeteer."
xxxxx04 wrote a review Jan 2016
"We took our grandchildren and their 2 friends on New Year's Eve - a party of 8 adults and 6 children age ranged 11 months to almost 6yrs - to see Aladin and his magic lamp.
All had recently had been to big production "live" pantomimes so we were a little anxious that they would not connect with the atmosphere and period. We needn't have worried, they were spellbound and delighted from the very beginning. Chris, the one-man-showman is fantastic and so understands how to connect with children. Even the 11 month old was standing on his mum's lap and clapping and laughing!!!
The puppet show was good, the magic show wonderful and interactive with the children (2 of our group went up on stage to help out) and the cabaret just amazing!!!
If you think this is too basic and not technical enough, have no fears, it is truly magical. It is easily affordable, with plenty of free parking nearby and Chris, the one man showman an all round expert."