Really enjoyed this tonight, as did the full house who were all on their feet at the end. It's a while since I've heard so many audience members saying Wow, that was amazing etc both at the interval and the end. It definitely needs space to play to its full effect but if the right theatre comes up, it can be a hit without a doubt. Beautiful to watch, clever, though provoking. They did RSC style whole company bows, because it is an ensemble piece , but the guy playing Pi was so good. Just be a bit wary of taking sensitive children. Another Sheffield triumph and the Crucible has space to move and plenty of toilets!
As I’ve said before. I do not like puppets. Let me qualify that... Sooty and Sweep - great, love ‘em. I can even get on board with a pre ‘no strings’ Pinocchio. But where things start to go wrong for me is when you see huge humans manhandling skeletal stylised puppets all over the stage. It completely takes me out of the story and it’s (just) one of the reasons that Warhorse left me cold.
And this afternoon for the first part of Act 1 I wasn’t entirely on board with this. At times there were so many people on stage either acting or operating puppets that it was very crowded. But by they time they’re out at sea and we see the thrilling end of the first half I was so onboard that I was almost in there with Pi and Richard Parker. I swear that despite actually looking at that stage full on when the boat first appeared I did not see it happen. It’s like a piece of origami and so seamlessly smooth that the slightest distraction, such as the stunning projections and sounds of the storm and the sea, meant that I totally missed how it was done. And there are other moments of such supreme stage craftiness that by the end you feel completely satiated. Like you’ve eaten just enough chocolate but not too much. The design, sound and lighting is gorgeous. And the puppets? Yes I was totally invested. It’s visually stunning and emotional. The final scene with the deep blue celestial sky and last paragraph of the investigators report projected onto the stage... gulp. Had to hold hem back.
Anyway you can’t see it because it’s the last performance tonight so ner. Yes It would be a shame if it didn’t get a wider audience and it probably will. But then again I’d rather like if it didn’t transfer. You get everything in London, it’s really annoying sometimes. And this could be one of those things that Sheffield got to have all to itself.