Writer: Oliver Lansley & Anthony Spargo
Director: Emma Earle
Music: Tom Gisby
Venue: Pandora’s Playground
Reviewer: Kris Hallett
Twice a day, for the entirety of Latitude, a piece of family theatre springs up from the fertile imaginations of Les Enfants Terrible.
A side-quel to the companies hugely successful The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie, this piece, The Fantastical Flying Exploratory Laboratory, success can be ascertained in the stillness of the young children, glued to the action and not getting distracted by the countless other attractions around them. Among the audience, a young boy of three is back for a second viewing, so swept away in the adventure was he the first time.
There is nothing more heart-warming in theatre than watching the really young start to fall in love with the theatre for the first time, and a few new converts were likely created here. The companies success in creating this effect is by making their work primary colours. The adventure the four performers go on is painted in broad brush strokes, characters not so much pitching to their festival audience as playing it out all the way to the carpark and beyond. The narrative about trying to find the items to create a magical elixir takes them across seas and to fantastical mystery lands. Unique characters come and go. At one point it even shoots one of the characters out into space.
The narrative about trying to find the items to create a magical elixir takes them across seas and to fantastical mystery lands. Unique characters come and go. At one point it even shoots one of the characters out into space. Puppetry, flying actors and songs are all part of their arsenal and they are careful in ensuring nothing overstays its welcome in this short but well-judged piece.
Philly Noone’s ship is the best (well maybe only) set design of the festival and director Emma Earle ensures the four talented performers Dominic Allen, Philip Bosworth, Lizzy Dive and Emily Essery deliver the piece with high energy and comic brio. A small key joy.