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Family Theatre Review: The Thing from the Place

Family Theatre Review: The Thing from the Place

Oct 8, 2013 Theatre

The Thing From the Place

Time Out in association with Theatre Beating

Concert Chamber, Town Hall

October 8, 2013

Reviewed by Frances Morton

The Thing from the Place is a very vague title. This madcap sci-fi caper for children aged 6 to 12 should really be called The Giant Booger from Frankie’s Nose, but that may be a little confronting on the poster. I had missed the subtlety of the publicity image with its tell-tale facial trail of green slime, however once the play starts it doesn’t take long to realise it’s all about snot.

Young Frankie thinks he has discovered a cure for the common sniffle so off he goes to share the breakthrough with his favourite professor, who in typical B-movie style turns out to be a mad scientist with evil intent. Actors Jonathan Brugh and Trygve Wakenshaw are hilarious physical comedians. Brugh, as our hero Frankie, plays a very likeable geek. Wakenshaw dashes between costume changes playing Frankie’s prissy mother and the dastardly professor. He is so exceedingly gangly that every gesture is like watching a cartoon come to life. The action is backed up by a stonking live musical accompaniment, which adds wonderfully to the tension but occasionally drowns out the dialogue in the hollow concert chamber space. Technically, this is a very slick production with a multilevel set, clever graphic projections, smoke, lights and puppetry. All the theatrical wizardry works hard around the classic scientist-created-a-monster storyline (although in this case horror is dialled back to make the creature more loveable than frightening).

The monster’s creation is a visual treat. The green goo’s presence grows and grows until a life-size snot-being appears on stage. How that comes to be and what happens next is really utterly bonkers but the creature’s bobbly, spandex costume is a stroke of genius and gets the biggest laughs of the show.

My nine-year-old companion turned to me at the end of the play and said, “I really didn’t get that.” I don’t blame him. It’s a ludicrous story, expertly told. Snot lovers will dig it. Kids wary of the absurd will be flat-out bamboozled.

50 minutes. No interval. 

Until October 12.

 

 

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