The Road That Wasn’t There *****

 

Theatre

Assembly Roxy

Venue 139

14.35 (run ends 27th Aug)

 

 Following their outstandingly successful The Bookbinder we have another enchanting, brilliantly inventive tale from Trick of the Light Theatre – it may not be true, but oh! how we wish it were…

Gabriel is working in London: he keeps receiving phone messages from people who live in his Kiwi mum’s small town of St Bathan’s.  They say she is acting oddly, and urge him to investigate. At first he simply thinks that she is behaving just as usual – she has always been eccentrically unconcerned with what anyone else thinks about her behaviour, and a superb story-teller: but then he is told of something even more bizarre than usual, and he feels he has to go home to see what’s going on.

When he arrives, Gabriel can’t get into the house – there is no doorknob.  He climbs in through a window, escaping from the neighbour who is only too happy to tell him of the odd things she’s seen, and confronts mother with her odd behaviour.  She is unperturbed, and has (to her) rational explanations – until she comes across a leaflet for the Dusty Corners Rest Home…  Her behaviour becomes increasingly eccentric and inexplicable until finally she starts to tell her son the only story she’s never previously told him – about who his father was, and how she met him.  Gabriel learns of her discovery of the ‘paper road’, the Road That Wasn’t There, and what happened when she went down it…

Three extremely talented and versatile actors tell a gloriously mad shaggy dog story with a witty and moving script, a simple set, and simple props, costumes and effects.  Add in excellent puppetry, impressively inventive shadow-puppetry, and a lively musical score, and you have a fantastical tale of romance, villainy, and cartography, and the hope of a happy ending, however impossible it may seem.

 Pure magic.

Again.

 

Mary Woodward