The Road That Wasn't There

Ralph McCubbin Howell

Trick of the Light and Zanetti Productions

Assembly Roxy

From 02 August 2017 to 27 August 2017

Rating: *****

Review by Robin Strapp

The Road That Wasn’t There is a delightful fable told through exquisite puppetry, shadow play and magical storytelling by Trick of the Light Theatre Company who had such a hit with The Bookbinder last year.

The stage is covered in hanging maps that are used as a screen as cleverly made slides and animation are projected to tell the story. Cardboard boxes litter the set that are inventively used to become a small stage for the puppets to perform on or become pieces of furniture including a fridge.

It is told in a series of chapters as in a book. We meet Gabriel (Paul Waggott) who acts as a narrator and has to return home as his aged mother (Elle Wootton) is in trouble with the police (Ralph McCubbin Howell) for stealing library books. He is determined to put her in a retirement home.

Millie is the little girl who followed a map off the edge of the world, or rather a paper road that was never built but leads to many adventures.

The puppets are all beautifully made by Hannah Smith. The small family are rod puppets with papier mâché faces and wool for their hair whilst the puppet actors are made from curled paper.

The story is enchantingly told by these three performers who skilfully puppeteer both in front of the audience and behind the screen.

There are some darker moments in the play with creepy monsters and gloomy churchyards and beware if you take the wrong path.

The gripping story moves at a fast pace with some charming songs that lighten the atmosphere.

This is a playful and highly entertaining treat for all the family.