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‘Mirabel’ review

  • Theatre, Children's
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  1. © The Other Richard
    © The Other Richard

    Chris Goode performs 'Mirabel' at Ovalhouse

  2. © The Other Richard
    © The Other Richard

    'Mirabel' at Ovalhouse

  3. © The Other Richard
    © The Other Richard

    'Mirabel' at Ovalhouse

  4. © The Other Richard
    © The Other Richard

    'Mirabel' at Ovalhouse

  5. © The Other Richard
    © The Other Richard

    'Mirabel' at Ovalhouse

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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A surreal, intense, and thoroughly weird post-apocalyptic fairytale by Chris Goode

Well this is weird. Chris Goode, who is a bit of a big dog in the world of radical fringe theatre, has returned with his first solo show since 2014, ‘Mirabel’ and I have absolutely no idea what to make of it. If I had to put a label on it, I’d call it a surrealist, post-apocalyptic fairytale-slash-allegory, but even that really doesn’t encapsulate the sheer oddity, scope, and emotion of it.

The show is like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope, both literally and metaphorically. Goode, dressed in a leather trench coat and blindfold like an extra from Max Max, slowly relates the story of the eponymous eight-year-old girl, who wakes up after the apocalypse to a world where everything is in ruins and pretty much everyone else is dead. Apart from, that is, her teddy bear, a red-eyed dog, a raffish airplane pilot, an anthropomorphic rock, and a flower called Salad, with whom she goes off across the wastelands in search of proper adult help.

Goode’s writing is kind of unfocussed, but it writhes with poetry and imagery and energy, and he delivers this doomsday fable with real tenderness, real softness. Naomi Dawson’s design is nifty too: as the story unfolds, Goode steps back through upright layers of translucent fabric, Lee Curran’s lighting illuminating twisted shopping carts and other apocalyptic debris as he goes. Matt Padden’s deafening sound design of crumbling earthquakes and shrieking metal is slickly used as well. It’s all very cool. The only thing is I HAVE ZERO CLUE WHAT IT IS GETTING AT.

Presumably it’s a metaphor. Could be about our relationship with the environment? Could be about our relationships with each other? Could honestly be about anything. And a small, slightly terrifying, rage-filled coda that changes the mood entirely does little in the way of enlightenment.

So by all means go and soak up the edgy arty vibes. But don’t necessarily expect it to, you know, make sense and all. Like I said, not a clue.

Written by
Fergus Morgan

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Price:
£10-£15, £9-£10 concs
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