Last weekend we ventured out to the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. Brent is very proud to home this national treasure, well-respected for its cultural diversity and ground-breaking political work. With its quirky and unique interior and layout, it’s quite a charmer.
Based on the much-loved books by Zizou Corder (mother and daughter duo), “Lionboy” tells the story of Charlie Ashanti (Martins Imhangbe), a boy who lives in a future where phones are powered by the sun, cars are banned and companies are more powerful than countries.
Charlie is a perfectly normal boy, except for one thing: he can speak to cats. So when his parents are kidnapped by the evil pharmaceutical giant “Corporacy”, he sets off on a rescue mission – with a little help from a floating circus and its pride of performing lions.
The set is impressive, looking like a circus, with a huge multi-functioning circular lighting above. The show starts off with a big bang and remains quite loud, full of surprises and high energy throughout.
The cast consists of 8 people who play multiple roles. What a passionate and talented bunch! There is singing, dancing, puppetry and circus – all stops have been pulled out by the award-winning Complicite to bring the story to life.
Special mention to Martins Imhangbe (Charlie) who puts his heart and soul into quite a physical and believable performance. “He is a real hero, mummy”, whispered my six year old.
The production successfully combines various theatrical styles, e.g. elements of pantomime, quite relevant given the season, and really gets the audience going. We loved it when the fisherman ran up to the stalls splashing water and demonstrating his freshly caught eel in the bucket (represented by black hose)!
A note from the Directors Clive Mendus and James Yeatman:
Sometimes we return to what worked before, and sometimes we make new choices. But above all we hope never to lose sight of what makes this story necessary: Charlie’s courage to question the moral assumptions of the adults around him. ‘Nullius in Verba’, his mother says. It’s the motto of the Royal Society, and means ‘take nobody’s word for it’. Charlie’s story is one for our times.
With its whirlwind action and suspense, Lionboy is a definite must-see, a real Christmas treat for the whole family! 5 stars from us.
Lionboy is at Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR until 10 January 2015. Running time is about two hours including an interval. Tickets cost £16-£23.50 (concessions and family rates available). To book, visit www.tricycle.co.uk.