FRINGE REVIEW – The Terrible Infants (Pleasance Grand)


August 27 – 30
1400-1510, Pleasance Grand

An Enfant Terrible

An Enfant Terrible

You’re in for a rather delicious treat.

Just be careful you don’t gorge too heavily on the feast which The Terrible Infants lay out, or you could end up like Tumb – the boy who ate his mum.

This and many other wonderfully grotesque characters are brought to unforgettable life by Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company in this welcome return of their hit show.

With tales from a time before political correctness took away their edge, the cast take us through a beautifully-staged storybook full of morality tales, presented in a visually-appealing vaudeville style.

We therefore meet characters whose stories warn of the dangers of telling lies or of neglecting your personal hygiene – or even of talking so much buzzing nonsense that a swarm of bees take up residence in your hair.

With a mixture of puppetry, masks and props which look as though they have sprung straight from the pages of a storybook, The Terrible Infants breathe magical life into the tales with a gleeful irony and self-awareness which ensures they appeal to adults as much as they do children.

The Terrible Infants

The Terrible Infants

Indeed, the company have built up such a reputation for their staging and performance, that most of the audience are grown-ups, keen to have their inner child entertained by Les Enfants Terribles’ unique and charming voice.

The cast are wonderful to watch: from Oliver Lansley’s storyteller, only just managing to keep the rest of the Infants in order; to Nicole Lewis’ precocious and brattish Tilly, skipping around the stage in striped socks and pigtails with wilful abandon.

Although all the actors pick up instruments at points throughout the show, most of the onstage music is provided by Tomas Gisby and Rachel Dawson. This is never more effective than in the haunting melancholy of Thingummyboy’s story, where Gisby’s vocals accompany the tragic tale brought to life by Matthew Ian Kelly’s puppetry skills.

By the end of the show, the tales are all told and the storybook has been closed. The Terrible Infants have entertained and delighted once again – and shown that the theatre is a place where magic does exist.

Ticket information is available on the Pleasance website.

Review by Keith D

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