Flyboy is Alone Again this Christmas: Matthew Robins prepares to bring his sci-fi shadow puppet soap-opera to Leeds

Posted on November 21, 2011


It’s mid November and I’m just putting together some new Flyboy stories to bring to the Howard Assembly Room this Christmas.  Flyboy is a mutant boy – half fly, half human, trying to live a normal life in a little town – his parents abandoned him when he was small, but he has a couple of friends at school and a nice job at the butcher’s shop so he’s happy. Usually strange things happen to him, like robots turning up to befriend him, or ordering a build-your-own rocket ship kit from the internet and flying to the moon only to find a wool-shop there run by an alien called Carol, and a knitted T-Rex running around and creating chaos.

In the show I perform the music live with my band, while the stories unfold on the big screen above or sometimes behind us. The pictures are created live with an old OHP and black cardboard shadow puppets, or sometimes little home-made creatures made of wool or papier mache and string.  

I’m very influenced by Hollywood, old musicals and cartoons, and since I saw Jurassic Park when I was 15 I’ve wanted to do something as good as that – a sort of “Jurassic Park: the Musical” made up of 5 minute cartoons and stories. In this show there is also a chance for the audience to join in and make their own dinosaur puppets to feature in the second half. 

 And, because its Christmas, Flyboy will also be visiting the Planet of the Haunted Snowmen…

I think of these shows as like being episodes in a weird cardboard soap-opera, with added songs and shadow-puppets. A lot of my work is based on things I read or watched when I was younger, and most of the characters are vaguely based on me and my friends. I’m from a West Country village near the sea, so my music and stories are influenced by that and by the idea of making your own entertainment out of whatever you have around you, which for me was scissors, glue and paper, as it still is today. 

The last time I played a gig in Leeds was in a pub somewhere in the centre of town, and I’m not sure people had turned up expecting to find an overhead projector and cardboard monsters where the pool table was supposed to be. Hopefully you’ll be ready for me this time, Leeds…

Matthew Robins
Artist, filmmaker and musician

Flyboy is Alone Again this Christmas will be at the Howard Assembly Room for two performances on Saturday 10 December. It is suitable for adults and brave children. More information and booking details can be found here.