Lost Ones

Matthew Lenton
Vanishing Point
Unity Theatre, Liverpool
(2005)

Like the bizarre lovechild of Franz Kafka and Tim Burton, from its comedic beginning to its terrifying end, Vanishing Point’s Lost Ones carries the audience on a dreamlike journey through the heart of identity, guilt and the very nature of art.

Using a dazzling mixture of music, physical theatre and a set that deserves a performer’s credit in its own right, Lost Ones draws us into the mystery at the heart of Theodore’s success. Where has his inspiration come from? What strange mystery lies at the heart of his creativity? What did Theo do on the top of that mountain to deserve such an appalling punishment?

It’s difficult to do Lost Ones justice without giving away the mystery at the heart of it; however its dreamlike imagery, theatrical artifice and almost comedic playing fuse perfectly to carry the audience on a haunting and ultimately terrible journey. Comparisons to Shockheaded Peter are inevitable, but Lost Ones stands in its own, strange right.

Kai Fischer’s set and lighting designs are wonderful; clever, amusing and engaging while supporting rather than overwhelming the actors. The actors are superb, their physical skills excellent, their performances balanced and judged by director Matthew Lenton into an inventive whole. Alasdair Macrae deserves special mention for his musical performances, exuberant and commanding.

About the only quibbles I can find with the acting is that the actor playing Theodore looking through the skirting board scratched his bum, the only cheap gag in the whole show and the more jarring for it, and, in the performance I saw, “Wendy” addressed the actor not the shadow. You’ll know what I mean if you see the play and if you have any interest in the modern, the inventive, the eerie and the occasionally beautiful, this is a play you really should see.

Rachel Lynn Brody reviewed this production at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Reviewer: Ged Quayle