Mayfest Review: King Pest and Night Flyer – The Paper Cinema and Kora

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King Pest and Night Flyer
The Paper Cinema and Kora

Four Stars very good

Bristol Old Vic Paintshop
8th-9th May

Reviewed by Annette Chown for

Editor’s note: All reviews are contributed by users of They are the independent and unedited work of their authors and do not constitute the views, opinions or endorsement of Theatre Bristol as an organisation

I walked into the Bristol Old Vic bar tonight and immediately loved the atmosphere. The plastic chairs and tables had been replaced for the festival by an eclectic mix of old wooden ones, while the walls were plastered with production posters and all around was the buzz of anticipation.

Moving into the Paintshop, the atmosphere was even more electric as this comparatively small space was full to the brim with an audience eager to find out what the night had in store. It was very intimate and I felt like part of a privileged group. Sitting down, I realised I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but having read the phrases ‘ink blotches’ and ‘fully fledged puppet actors’, I had deduced it was something I wanted to see.

I mistakenly thought that King Pest and Night Flyer was all one name, but they are actually two separate ‘paper films’. King Pest was commissioned as part of Punchdrunk’s The Masque of the Red Death and based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Night Flyer is an original magical creation of The Paper Cinema. Both were accompanied by live viola and guitar, played by Kora. I’m not going to give any further description as I believe part of the enjoyment lies in losing yourself in what you are watching and allowing the puppets (and puppeteers) to tell you their story.

I really enjoyed the production and loved the whole concept of a ‘paper cinema’. Probably the best way to describe it would be to call it live animation, as the static pen and ink drawings are brought to life on a giant screen while you sit with the puppeteers and watch them work their storytelling-magic before your eyes.

The music was beautiful and really complimented the animation. I could have listened to Kora all night; his playing took me on the journey of the characters and I was rather sad when it ended.

This is a gem of a show, but it is only on until Saturday 9th May, so don’t miss out, grab some tickets and allow yourself to be drawn into (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) the animated magic of The Paper Cinema.