It’s clear the work has been devised by the company, and there’s a real unity from the ensemble as they move beautifully together. Efficient and slick, they create stirring images that are not just visually appealing for children, but emotionally effective.
The devised nature of the piece also creates some misfires too, with what sometimes seems like an overabundance of ideas. The Monster’s stories lose steam as they go, particularly the second about an apothecary and a parson which features a strange ventriloquy-like song. And while Goodwin’s voice is excellent as the Monster, his shifting appearance onstage, including stilts in one instance, occasionally jars with the rest of the action.
But the weight and depth of the story make up for any odd trimmings. Oldham as Conor’s Mum is arresting, exhibiting a real sense of anger at her fate as well as an overwhelming (and even blinding) love for her son. But it’s Tennyson as Conor who holds the piece together, creating a complex and nuanced character who makes a truly profound and cathartic realisation.
It’s a moving ending that leads many to tears. Perfectly accompanied by Benji Bowers’s score, A Monster Call is an exquisite, brave and deft exploration of grief that makes for a powerful statement for younger audiences.
Recommended for ages 10+
|What||A Monster Calls, Old Vic theatre review|
|Where||The Old Vic, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
07 Jul 18 – 25 Aug 18, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Price||£12.50 - £50|
|Website||Click here to book via the Old Vic|