FRINGE REVIEW – Jack Pratchard, Zoo Roxy

*****

6-30 Aug (not 18) 1555 (1645) @ Zoo Roxy

By Danielle Farrow

For anyone who has ever enjoyed a toy theatre, Jack Pratchard is a marvel of temptation. The stage is dominated by a theatre construction with pulleys and tabs, scenery and characters, all tantalisingly on show, and a real old-fashioned record player – complete with character trimmings – to one side.
 
The visual storytelling is wonderful and multi-layered, with welcome movement increasing and characters eventually escaping the confines of the beautiful mini stage. It makes use of rich colours, silhouettes, drops and side rails, back- and fore-lighting and layered depth.
 
However, the story of Jack Pratchard – his death and quest thereafter – is somewhat flat. Though richly rendered song on occasion lifts the delivery, and sometimes Jonathan Storey’s steady vocal manner suits a humorously dry line, there is little change of pace throughout despite music trying to create this. Often a single statement is made in order for the story to progress, but the whys and wherefores – some of which would probably create wonderful adventures – are completely ignored, even to the point of affecting the logic of the tale being told.
 
Still, Jack Pratchard is worth seeing for the ingenuity of this visually stunning storybook brought to the stage, and for the stories you might find yourself creating, stimulated by this slightly broken one.

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