14 August 2012 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews
Les Enfants Terribles' latest creation is exciting, slick and evocative. Telling the pleasingly mysterious story of a miner in WWI, Bert, blasted into a supernatural world of puppet-monsters and challenges by an errant mine, the company add a new, phantasmal gloss to a familiar setting.
We reach the magical part via some slightly hackneyed Wilfred Owen-y build-up about squelching mud and pounding guns and the like, but upon the entry of our Bert's brilliantly-articulated and expressive puppet guide -- a mixture of Gollum, the grim reaper and a goat - we are in a different game entirely.
Bert makes something of a deal with the devil - three macabre tasks will see him back to the world of the living. The company use the lack of constraint provided by the supernatural setting to its full potential - a great riddling monster, morphing landscapes and evil floating skulls with pointy helmets are all ably brought into being by the company's flexible set and excellent assortment of puppets. Not quite
War Horse, but getting there. It makes for an exuberance rarely connected with world war stories, and is well-complemented by a live guitar soundtrack.
It is to their credit that the company thought to write a new drama in verse, and some of the aptly otherworldly power of poeticised language does seep through, but lines are often stilted and awkward, and after an hour of pausing reliably on every tenth syllable, wearisome.
The real poetry of
The Trench is in its puppetry, its movement and imagination. Clunky dialogue doesn't seriously detract from this very accomplished piece of theatre.
- by Kieran Corcoran Related Content
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