THEATRE REVIEW: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings ★★★

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
Little Angel Theatre, London
Sunday 15th January

Kneehigh have done it again for their current production at The Little Angel Theatre in London, with their latest masterpiece of ‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings’, a children’s production based off the short story from Gabriel García Márquez, which the adapted tale tells the story of a village surrounded by sadness, until one day a mysterious figure falls from the sky, and suddenly the town is thrown into a frenzy as they are the most talked about village on the news.

Performed by only four actors playing multiple roles each with their beautifully designed puppets, these performers put their heart into making this show as entertaining for the families in the audience as possible, and this really showed especially in the interval when they came out into the auditorium and asked some of the kids if they would help set up the village for fete, so with that the kids helped set up bunting around the whole room, which really made the audience feel apart of the celebrations within the story. It’s very rare these days that so much time is put in to interact with audience members, especially on children’s shows I believe, that having this connection with the characters really is what made this production so special. The talent in the performers to be able to improvise with what the audience would presumably throw at them is so skillful and it was just lovely to see.

The set was so exquisitely designed that attention to detail was impeccable. As the auditorium and stage are very confined in such a small space, when it came to the strand if the story where the whole village worked as a team to make the running of the fete go as smoothly as it possibly could, we as the audience almost felt apart of the village residents due to the proximity of the whole space and the interaction beforehand in the interval. The characteristics of the village folk also was so brilliantly constructed by the cast of four, where I found myself laughing at the most silliest of characters because they were all so varied, but also felt fully engaged when some of the more heartfelt scenes emerged in the climax of the production.

Overall, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is such a testimony to Kneehigh’s skills in a production none other like I have seen of theirs before. I would very much like to see them adapt more children’s stories in the future if this production was anything to go by, but ultimately cannot wait to see what they produce next, with ‘The Tin Drum’ and ‘Tristan & Yseult’ coming to various locations later this year!


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