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The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie – Gwyn Hall, Neath

Writers: Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo
Directors: Emma Earle, Oliver Lansley and James Seager
Reviewer: Jaclyn Martin

 

Roll up, roll up, one and all; Doctor Longitude and his rag-tag bunch of travellers are touring the UK and have arrived in town, after wowing audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They are bursting with tales of how they caught all the weirdly wondrous, splendiferously spectacular animals in their magical menagerie.

A travel wagon forms the set, surrounded by all kinds of knick-knacks and thingamajigs, Victorian steampunk in style. A simple travel wagon this is not, though. One moment it’s a ship sailing upon the sea to a far-away land, with simple use of porthole windows; then it’s a stage with blue, velour curtains framing the scenes; the next moment, a submarine down in the deep depths of the ocean.

The quirky characters bound on stage and sail straight into song, setting strong energy from the get-go. The costumes are designed to look like they’ve been put together with scraps and rags and result in unique, bright mismatched outfits, their faces are painted white with exaggerated features in the clownish vaudevillian style of the travelling shows of the past.

Truly a treat for the senses, there’s always something to look at and never a dull moment. Props and puppets are expertly used to support the storytelling, catchy tunes set or recap the scenes, reluctant parents are dragged on stage and made to wear fake beards and make silly noises – always a winner with the kids – characters pop out of unusual places and one even climbs over the audience to reach the clouds. This is fast-paced fun, packed with unexpected moments. There is magic and imagination in every aspect of this show and the children remain completely captivated for the entire hour – in fact it passed very quickly and could have easily have kept the attention of its young audience for another story or two.

Unique and quirky, innovative and creative – Les Enfantes Terribles know how to tell an engrossing, encompassing tale and their bite-size offering is the perfect way to get a new generation excited about theatre… while also having a bit of a giggle yourself.

Reviewed on 17 February 2016 | Image: Contributed

Writers: Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo Directors: Emma Earle, Oliver Lansley and James Seager Reviewer: Jaclyn Martin   Roll up, roll up, one and all; Doctor Longitude and his rag-tag bunch of travellers are touring the UK and have arrived in town, after wowing audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They are bursting with tales of how they caught all the weirdly wondrous, splendiferously spectacular animals in their magical menagerie. A travel wagon forms the set, surrounded by all kinds of knick-knacks and thingamajigs, Victorian steampunk in style. A simple travel wagon this is not, though. One moment it's a…

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The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.