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The Wolves In The Walls review at Tramway Glasgow

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Having dispensed with opening night nerves in its weekend-long Home event, the National Theatre of Scotland is now free to get down to the business of producing high quality theatre. And whatever else it is, this “musical pandemonium” for children and grown-ups is certainly high quality.

The story of Lucy (Frances Thorburn), ignored by her self-obsessed family, is exceedingly well told and staged. A combination of high-tech and music hall techniques ensure that it has a real air of magic, whether it is the projections Lucy commands with the wave of a pencil or the full-size puppets, shadows, sleight of hand and see-through walls.

The success of the production is to make very sophisticated techniques appear simple as they tell the story.

Its main failing is that it has allowed them to dictate the structure. Pace is sacrificed with a cut-up, episodic feel. Consequently it sags at a short 70 minutes while feeling as if it needs more meat to the plot and another 20 minutes.

The live music and sound is spot on but the amplification of the actors is not always enough to balance it.

Featherstone and Crouch have extracted a quartet of strong performances from their actors. Thorburn is superb, drawing the audience into her confidence and being just a little more knowing than her family give her credit for.

Cora Bissett and Iain Johnstone bring out her Mum and Dad’s flaws while still being incredibly groovy parents. Ryan Fletcher is everything an annoying brother should be.

Production Information

Tramway, Glasgow, March 29-April 8, then touring until May 20

Authors
Julian Crouch, Vicky Featherstone, Nick Powell. Additional lyrics Neil Gaiman, based on the book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
Directors
Vicky Featherstone, Julian Crouch
Producers
National Theatre of Scotland and Improbable in association with Tramway
Cast
Iain Johnstone, Cora Bissett, Frances Thorburn, Ryan Fletcher
Running time
1hr 10mins
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