Matthew Robins's charming, sometimes heartbreaking little stories are delivered as adult shadow-puppet operas, comprising homemade cardboard figures and sets, and accompanied by a superb eight-piece band.
They create a complete world, one that's full of loss and unrequited love, but with a surreal and occasionally snappy humour . . . The whole thing feels like watching a silent movie in which every aspect has been created by a wayward child genius.
The Cornish puppeteer and musician Matthew Robins appears to have little trouble exposing his inner child. The unabashed yet self-deprecating openness of his personality is a big part of what makes his work so endearing.
What drives his miniaturist universe is the romance of friendship and, as a corollary, an underlying longing to belong. It’s a place of boyhood crushes, loneliness and gentle obsessions that contain an implied tolerance for taking people as they are.
It’s easy to see why audiences and theatremakers alike are beguiled by this kooky West Country artist, whose brand of low-fi storytelling taps into our new-found affection for the homemade and wholesome.
Robins’ homespun tales mix the everyday with the surreal and are delivered in a chatty, cosy style, accompanied by a hodgepodge seven-piece band and illustrated with nothing more than an overhead projector and pieces of cardboard
Even in the darkest moments there is a lightness that elicits sympathetic “awwws” from the audience. Robins is funny and entertaining enough to make the absurdity enjoyable, the tangents less jarring.
The Financial Times
tours have included:
Science Fiction Double Feature (2009)
The Death of Flyboy and other stories (2010)
Noah's Ark (2011) also recorded as a live album
Flyboy is Alone Again This Christmas (2010-2011)
The Matthew Robins Show / The Matthew Robins Christmas Show (2012-2018)
Matthew Robins would like you to have a nice Christmas (2019 / 2020)
Matthew Robins's live show is an on-going collection of his songs, stories, live-animations, puppetry, and made-up games. First performed in 2008 at the National Theatre, the show has toured extensively in the UK over the last 15 years. Equally at home in art galleries, concert halls, comedy clubs, theatres, and festivals, Matthew's live show has been seen at venues including the Barbican, the National Theatre, Opera North, Theatre Royal Bath, Little Angel Theatre, Suspense festival, Manipulate festival, b-side festival, the London Film Festival, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the V&A, BAC, Duckie, and BBC radio.
This minutely crafted tribute to nostalgia, disappointment and the power of the imagination will appeal to your inner Peter Pan
“It’s home-made folklore,” says Robins. “I grew up in a remote village by the coast in Cornwall so I write stories about animals, monsters, death, love, and the ocean.” I’ve been performing since I was a teenager - playing the piano in a hotel bar when I was 14 and touring with a circus after I left art school. My work is a pre-internet patchwork of inspirations - Tintin and Sesame Street, listening to Billy Connolly and Bette Midler records with the sound low so my parents wouldn't hear the swearing, Garrison Keillor's variety show on the radio. I’ve been writing a series of ongoing narratives about different characters over the years, a slow paced soap opera that audiences can return to and hear the latest news about Flyboy and Mothboy, Walter Knitty, the Wicker Cat . . . "