Wim de Wulf
The full Gomaar Trilogy lasts over three hours and is spread across three performances. However, seeing the final part works well and gives a good impression of what is on offer.
The Belgian company Ultima Thule tells adult tales using sophisticated puppetry techniques.
The puppets typically consist of the head and upper half of the torso. This is then supplemented by the left hand of the manipulator, which appears as the puppet’s own.
A cast of three provide movement and voices for their charges and relate dark and at times grim tales of ordinary folk.
The play starts with a 40-year-old man returning to his childhood home with his teenaged daughter to bury his mother.
The action then moves back in time to show how past events have coloured the behaviour and attitudes of all concerned.
The backstory starts with an illegitimate birth, followed by a difficult relationship with a stern, unforgiving stepfather.
A generation down, at 15 the daughter wants freedom and love and thinks that she has found it, while her mother also rebels, having got tired of supporting a writer who seems destined to remain penniless for life.
The main attraction with this company is the puppetry, which is of the highest class and brings an ordinary tale to life.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher