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The Fahrenheit Twins

Michel Faber, adapted by Told by an Idiot and Matthew Dunster
Barbican Pit
(2009)

Production photo

It is hard to imagine a more cleverly conceived or lovingly created production than The Fahrenheit Twins. Unfortunately, the simplistic story based on a book by French novelist Michel Faber is not even close to filling a running time of a little under 90 minutes.

The company, with designer Naomi Wilkinson, have created their own Arctic world built around a furry white ski jump on a revolve.

This is the home of twins, Tainto'lilith and Marko'cain, whose names suggest demonic possession. They are the children of Bavarian anthropologists who head to the frozen north to study the Gooey Inui (I do hope that it is spelled that way but fear something more prosaic).

The energetic pairing of Hayley Carmichael and Paul Hunter play every part overheating in fake polar bear fur. Their roles include the twins and their parents, the locals and, most memorably, huskies, seals and snow foxes that would win anyone's heart with their tragic ballet.

The babes, like their biblical antecedents, are born into the purest of worlds but once there, soon enough learn that nature is red in tooth and claw. They follow a series of mini adventures, the most exciting of which involves a trek into the icy wilderness with a cleverly-constructed dog sled carrying the body of their dead mother.

The Fahrenheit Twins rarely looks anything other than beautiful and the parable of man's innate need to destroy is illustrated using carefully crafted physical theatre. This is a joy for a while but the script fails build on an interesting initial conceit leaving one far too long to contemplate snowy wastes.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher