As part of a collaboration with The Place, Bedford, we are publishing reviews by three young writers between June and August 2019. This is by twelve-year old Zahid Mahee.
Journey to the Impossible is wacky humour with abundance. The science fiction set in the 1980s is for all the family. It focuses on parallel dimensions and is a joyous, exuberant play showcased by Little Soldier Productions and is directed by Merce Ribot (who brought Rachel to The Place in January of this year with Small Nose Productions and Trestle Theatre), and Patricia Rodriguez. The three actors are Dan Armstrong (Div), Lucy Bishop (Michelle) and Javier Ariza Barcina (Callum) who also play other supporting roles.
In the first moments, a walkie-talkie goes off, surprising the audience and setting the scene. An audience member is invited to talk into the device and receives weird instructions from an off-stage voice – the reasons for which become clear only in the final moments of the production. After that we are taken to Michelle’s uncle’s attic, where the comic adventure story is introduced to the audience, showing us a parallel universe where we learn about friendship, bravery and confronting problems that seem to be impossible to solve. Sometimes the story is a bit difficult to follow because so many random things happen, but it is a world of possibilities and so silly that the audience is mostly amused.
Music plays a vital role and sets the off-beat quirky tone for this production, with catchy humorous songs that have the audience clapping along. In each part of the show, the sounds and music popular in the 1980s portray the mood of the scene in a slightly peculiar random fashion, and accompanies dances and cleverly improvised mimes such as a choreographed bike-ride that are used to engage the audience further with the production’s oddness. The 1980s theme is quite fun and portrays not only through music and sounds, but also through the costumes and Calum’s yoyo tricks. It is clever to set it during the 1980s as it appeals not only to children, but also to the parents who grew up during this period.
The set is simple yet effective, and allows the focus to be on the actors. It is a metal structure with splashes of bright colours here and there. The actors use the set as many things such as an attic, a place of captivity, and an escape route. Glitter, mist and small model buildings are used to represent the city of Vernopolis which sparkles under the lighting design, while black-outs allow small, quick set changes to happen as well as character swaps. One of the stand-out characters is Kenny whose performance about his Spanish heritage is so funny!
Overall, I really enjoyed Journey to the Impossible because it made me laugh and I would recommend it to any family who wanted to have a good time.
Journey to the Impossible played until 31 May. For more information on the company, visit the Little Soldier Productions website.