The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil theatre review

Bristol Old Vic Theatre dress rehearsal of 'The Gigantic Beard that was Evil" on January 6th 2015

More than an incredible title?

Most broadly described as a modern take on Roald Dahl tales, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil follows a far-too-normal town’s attempts to deal with the unknown in their midst that takes the form of a gigantic and undoubtedly evil beard.

The play starts by establishing a world not too unlike our own before the inevitable arrival of the titular beard and the fallout for these wildly unprepared people now forced to deal with the unknown.

There are several spectacular parts in the play that have to be seen to be believed. They range from a hilarious dance routine performed by the main character Dave (performed admirably by Oscar Adams) in order to maintain his grip on reality (really) to the beard itself which frankly defies description.

The play’s staging is very slick, with extensive use being made of office furniture that gets continuously re-purposed in rapid succession to establish the unbearably mundane facade upheld by the characters. There are no backdrops, but extensive use of backlit whiteboards allows for some very entertaining puppetry and visual variety to the show.

The music for the play is provided by a female Greek chorus of sorts who do a great job of creating atmosphere and emphasising dialogue from start to end.

This show is the product of ‘devising’, a process somewhat akin to crowd sourcing the adaption of the material initially to the cast themselves. The director Stephanie Kempson believed that for a strong visual story such as this it was crucial for the visuals and the story to be developed together and it shows, with the finale bringing together the visual elements established throughout the play for a spectacular climax.

Unfortunately tickets were sold out almost immediately, but keep an eye on the Bristol Old Vic’s website for other upcoming shows.

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