Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Stinky McFish and the World’s Worst Wish

A tale of two tiny friends in a big battle to return to the sea

A solo puppet show written and performed by Joanna Neary, at the Ledward LGBTQ+ centre.

I came for a show – I discovered a happening, for a packed and rapt audience of parents and kids.

The puppet show formed part of a children’s activity morning, organised by University of Brighton events management students, with Brighton and Hove Buses and Tesco sponsoring and supporting the whole event.

It’s a great move – we learn by doing, so giving the students a practical event to create and manage must be the best way for them to learn. Congratulations to the students, and to the University.

In Jo’s puppet show, a lost beach ball leads to a friendship between a little girl and an unhappy crustacean, in this tale of a farty glitter-loving seashore crab who wants to be human.

With a little booth set serving as seashore, bedroom, palace and dungeon, we meet a sea witch with a fiery cauldron, a smarmy prince and foghorn-voiced dad in this fun, pacey and energetic fish-out-of-water comedy, with a full cast of characters and voices.

With songs and humour plus clean Brighton life side-gags for the grown-ups, in the best panto tradition, it’s best to expect the unexpected when you’re working with kids.

Jo leaves the booth, takes puppets for a walk and a chat amongst the audience, playing Treasure or Trash and the Royal Highness name game with the wild card that is child audience participation.

There’s a surprisingly timely swipe at the way the press attacks the royals, touching on themes of privilege, bullying, not fitting in, discovering who you are, who you want to be and there’s no place like home.

Some big thoughts from this little show, giving bags of charm with an edge.

Philippa Hammond

Sussex Playwrights Reviews