I Am Beast

Returning for their fourth Fringe, Sparkle and Dark bring their own fascinating and fantastical take on experiences of death and loss. The result is an intriguing mix of heartbreak and humour.

A touching and enjoyable production, I Am Beast is well worth your time.

The story focuses on Ellie, a teenager recently bereft of her mother. Struggling to maintain a good relationship with her father in the aftermath, she instead chooses to take to a superhero world of her own imagination. Preferring to battle the evil Dr Oblivion rather than her own feelings, she soon finds that her own imagination can turn against her in the form of the titular ‘Beast’.

Lizzie Muncey’s performance as Ellie is solid from start to finish. She skilfully captures Ellie’s quiet decline as she slowly loses trust in the comfort of her imaginary world. Nick Halliwell, Gilbert Taylor and Louisa Ashton show an amazing amount of versatility, effortlessly switching from puppeteering to overdramatic supervillains to pub doors in the blink of an eye.

The puppet of the Beast itself is very impressive and used to great effect, although it turns out to be the only puppet in the play which is a little disappointing. The story presented is effective, but is a little on the predictable side. It plays out pretty much as you expect it to from about five minutes into the beginning, which is not a terrible thing but an added dimension or twist to proceedings could have helped spice things up.

The fight choreography is both excellent and side-splitting. The use of ‘slow-motion’ midway through fights is hilarious and beautifully executed. Credit must also go to the innovative set design with its simply lit windows for sequences on TV and the combination of artwork and projection helps put you in the mind of traditional comic-book superheroes.

A touching and enjoyable production, I Am Beast is well worth your time.

Reviews by James Beagon

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

What happens when the wildest parts of our imagination take control? Yearning for escape, Ellie journeys through a flickering world of bewitching strangers and comic book superheroes. But as the walls of her new world begin to crumble, Ellie must finally face the truth behind her fantasies. Following the acclaimed success of Killing Roger, Sparkle and Dark return with a visually stunning exploration of the power of grief and childish imagination, using original live music and life-sized puppetry. ‘One of the most powerful pieces of theatre I’ve seen … Puppetry at its best’ (Guardian on Killing Roger).