MusicalNorth WestReview

Sleeping Trees at the Movies Trilogy: Sci-fi – The Lowry, Salford

Music: Tom Parry

Writers/Directors: James Dunnell-Smith, John Woodburn, and Joshua George Smith

Reviewer: Sam Lowe

Sci-fi splendidly sucks the audience into a theatrical black hole, “spaghettifies” them, and leaves them in a tangled state of consciousness. Forcing them to ask the question, “What in the world did I just watch?” The audience are rocketed to the planet Plutopia, which rules the galaxy. Charlie Sprog is dragged away from his home farm on a quest to defeat, the Brian Blessed sounding villain, Galacticon, and save the galaxy from total destruction. This is one of three, one-hour shows from The Sleeping Trees theatre company. The other two shows explore the film genres of mafia and western. Flying back to Sci-fi, it lovingly mocks the sci-fi film genre, with littered references to such blockbuster films as: Superman, Planet of the Apes, and Star Wars.

Much of the devised show’s hilarity comes from its attempt to be B-movie like, in its execution. This is particularly funny at the beginning, when there is a large auditory hype and build up to the narrative, but in reality it’s some guy playing music through his computer and synthesiser on a stage with no set. There is regular use of meaningless and absurd humour, like in the cutaway moments. This is a trend in the current comedy climate, and it complements the overall show well. However, sometimes the show verges on having too many jokes and creative ideas, which can make it feel overwhelming to watch.

The three performers, who also wrote the show, form a vibrant ensemble dynamic. Physical theatre and comedy is employed to communicate the narrative, and it is performed with razor-sharp precision. Their exaggerated and energetic performance mode is spot on and never weakens. The vocal performances of all three performers are incredible, showing versatility and vigour. Small improvised moments give the show an extra kick, supplying it with more life and spontaneity.

In a positive way, you can tell how geeky these guys are about the world of cinema. What they have come up with is a fast-paced and tightly choreographed production. They have enough energy to orbit the entire milky way. This show is a treat for all the cinema-nerds out there.

Reviewed on: 8th March 2018.

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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