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On the contrary, such is the vividness of the characters and the exemplary staging by director Katy Rudd that it is an uplifting, awe-inspiring experience for adults young and old. Widower Dad (Nicolas Tennant) tries to bring up his young son Boy (James Bamford) and daughter Sis (Grace Hogg-Robinsoin) as best he can.
Money is tight and his last lodger killed himself in a car in the woods.
Boy ventures into the woods during a storm and meets a strange young girl Lettie Hempstock (Nia Towle) who takes him to shelter in the ancient family farm belonging to her mother (Siubhan Harrison) and grandmother (Penny Layden).
All three women seem to belong to a different time, if not a different world – the “Old World”. They have powers.
When something crosses over into the present world in human female form it disrupts the status quo, threatening Dad, Sis and Boy – who is the only one who knows what she/it really is.
A story about hope and despair, innocence and wonder, it employs magical realism while keeping one foot in the real world.
Embellished with allusions to Lewis Carroll, HP Lovecraft and George Macdonald’s Phantastes, it transfers beautifully from page to stage through sensitive performances, special effects and puppetry that are all the more effective for being used sparingly.
A wondrous and moving night.
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