Lilly Through The Dark
Lilly Through The Dark (Tour -Burton Taylor, Studio, Oxford)
20 July 2010 WOS Rating: After gathering critical awards and public attention at the Edinburgh Festival, The River People bring their gothic tragedy Lilly Through The Dark to the Burton Taylor. Mixing music, poetry and puppetry, the show feels a lot like a macabre, Victorian carnival show.
Lilly herself is a wide-eyed bean pole of a puppet, beautifully manipulated to convey the sense of loss she feels at the death of her father. As she travels through the underworld in search of him, she meets a host of strange and horrible creatures that force her to think on questions of memory, grief and love. There are many moments of quiet beauty in the show. Lilly’s interactions with
Joseph Bone’s Rottenpockets, the steward of the underworld, are particularly enjoyable for the contrast between the former’s delicate movements and the latter’s gruff physicality.
Equally impressive is the show’s design. Wisely favouring simplicity and imagination over big, didactic statements, wonder and storytelling are evoked using the tiniest of tools. A bulb in an actor’s hand becomes a dream, beads in a bag become lost stories and an umbrella mixed up with rags becomes a weeping-willow. The very fact that all the action takes place on a stack of books from which the cast emerge at the beginning is recognition that this is storytelling, myth and fairytale at its most charming and evocative.
The River People have cobbled together a consistent and unique way of spinning a yarn that allows them perfect freedom to let the tremendous sadness at the heart of this tale come out. This is a company to keep an eye on.
- Josh Tomalin
Related Content Back to Central Homepage
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p... ATG acquires Broadway's largest theatre The Foxwoods, home of Spider-Man In another significant step for transatlantic theatre relations, the UK’s biggest theatre ... 1st Night Photos: Strictly stars party at Relatively Speaking first night Strictly stars Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen and Artem Chigvintsev were among those celebrating ... Matilda on Broadway wins five Drama Desk Awards The Broadway transfer of Matilda The Musical has won five gongs at the 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards... Pulitzer winner : Islam is 'ripe territory' for drama Ayad Akhtar Ayad Akhtar's play Disgraced, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, receives its UK premiere ... Michael Coveney: New York honours Matilda with five big awards First blood in the New York awards contest went to Matilda last night, as the show walked off with... Opening: Relatively Speaking, Southwark Playhouse's Tanzi Libre & NT Shed's Bullet Catch Among this week's major London theatre openings, in the West End and further afield, are Relatively ... Young Vic's award-winning Doll's House transfers to West End Carrie Cracknell's critically acclaimed Young Vic production of A Doll's House, using an adaptatio... Let It Be extends booking at Savoy until Jan 2014 Let It Be, the concert show based on the music of The Beatles, has extended its run at the Savoy... : Theatre 'flops' ripe for reinvention Ten of the Best Defining a theatre 'flop' is no straightforward task. A general rule of thumb could be that it mak...