The best aspect of this co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and Improbable is that it creates an air of convincing wonderment and menace. Such perfect pitching alone marks the play as a winner. Younger theatregoers gasp at the macabre frights and slapstick humour, while grown-ups can enjoy a convergence of fine performances, the subtle ingenuity of the set design and a lightheartedly evocative live musical score
The wolves themselves are expertly brought to life by three puppeteers, who threaten to steal the show. Yet Cora Bissett is magnetic as the jolly Mum, moving between speech and song as she prepares her jam, while Ryan Fletcher gives a grandstanding turn as Lucy’s show-off Brother. Iain Johnstone’s tuba- playing Dad and Frances Thorburn’s measured Lucy add quality to the show.
This flagship first full production of the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS’s artistic director Vicky Featherstone co-directs) is a rich piece of storytelling for all ages. ★★★★☆
and another four star review in the Independent --
...just the kind of high-risk venture which the new National Theatre for Scotland is looking for. Their "Musical Pandemonium", co-produced with the ever-inventive Improbable Theatre, has all the hallmarks of a bold statement of intent that strikes just the right note between edginess and populism.
Co-directors Vicky Featherstone and Julian Crouch tap into the surreal waking dream of Gaiman's novel, building it into a nightmare of terrifying, irrational proportions.
The first 20 minutes are perhaps a little stilted, but as soon as the hessian puppet wolves emerge snarling and howling from their wallpapered confinement, the dreamscape suddenly becomes utterly convincing.
The lupine comedy, brilliantly realised by skilful puppeteers, heightens as the rampant wild wolves of the walls become domesticated, from middle-class lair-makers to breakdancing teen wolves. And beneath it all is a dark undertow of family dislocation, fear of the unknown and protection of one's own. As the wolves cower back into the walls, there is an uncomfortable suggestion that we, like Lucy, will always be able to conjure up new "threats". What's the time, Mr Wolf? It's always dinner time.
Do you really have no dates yet for signings, readings etc. in 2006, or is just everyone too busy to add them to the "Where's Neil" section?
Can't believe you could actually be staying at home for a while ... ;)
It's not everybody who's too busy to add them, alas. It's just me. And I mostly need ten minutes with a computer and the wall calendar...
There's a street in Norwich which is going to be a star.
And finally, this just came in from Ivy McCloud, wife of Scott McCloud and mother to my fairy goddaughters Sky and Winter McCloud, and someone who has known me much too well for too long, taking issue with something in a recent post:
So, on your blog the other day you listed your answers to all those questions and one in particular struck me as amusing:
28. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Lovely. Puzzling. Delightful. Finally.
You see, the two words that I most associate with you were not on your list. I wonder, does that mean you don't use them as much anymore or are you unaware you use them or am I just wrong?
The two words I would have said you overuse are "brilliant" and "thingy"
(In fact I just called Scott to make sure I wasn't making a fool of myself, I asked him, "what words do you associate with Neil?" and he said, "oh, that's easy 'brilliant' and..." and before he could get it out, Sky, who had no idea what he was talking about said, "thingy.")
So there. I told Scott I was going to make fun of you, and he said you deserved it.
And, of course, I always do.