Possible Impossible Theatre

I’m at Z-Arts on a Saturday morning for a children’s show, on my own; it’s a strange feeling, but I was intrigued by Forced Entertainment’s The Possible Impossible House.  The main Z-Arts auditorium is yet another superb medium sized venue in Manchester, well equipped and with a good sized stage.

Claire and Cathy come on in ballgowns.  There’s nothing comic or patronising about this show.  It’s intelligent, clever, with well timed humour.  Narrated mainly by Claire Marshall, with Cathy Naden on sound effects, the play develops the story of a journey through the Possible Impossible House, images of the rooms and the characters we meet projected cleverly onto cardboard that Claire carefully positions.  There’s well timed interplay between Claire and Cathy to provide humour, but also to make the audience question the direction and structure of the story.  There’s no real audience involvement, but there’s a lot of engagement.

It’s a fascinating experience watching children’s theatre from an adult perspective.  First of all, the central story is fairly straightforward and linear, so that nobody gets lost along the way.  The depth is provided through short characterisations, visuals and interaction.  Second, there is no expectation that the audience will remain silent.  This production works very hard to attract and retain the audience’s attention.  Third, there was no attempt to be excessively clever; visuals were simple but compelling, sound effects were fully on show, with some debate about which to use; this was a very honest production.  At the end the kids around me ‘loved it’.  I loved it, as a play in its own rights.

What I also liked about this show is that it is in many respects a ‘how-to’ theatre show.  Everything was on display on the stage; you could have gone home and recreated most of this production, except for the video.  But then you’d probably have found a way to do that if you were sufficiently interested.

 

 

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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