Momo and the Inevitable Decay of the House in the Forest

Whether you bought a ticket for the slightly unnerving image design or for the sheer length of the title, you would be forgiven for rethinking your choice once you notice a daunting masked figure lingering in the corner of the stage. As the show waits to begin, an ethereal soundscape conjures images of dreams that are about to take a turn for the terrifying. Loft’s production explores the effects of trauma on mental health, with the light touch that doesn’t betray the heft of its themes. Momo and the Inevitable Decay of the House in the Forest is a varied piece of theatre with significant promise, but a few too many detracting distractions.

A varied piece of theatre with significant promise, but a few too many detracting distractions.

Ricocheting back and forth between mid noughties Finland and the present day, Momo pitches a story about childhood and the lasting effects of what might be experienced. As a child, Ellie holidays with her family – artist mother and writer father, though even from the beginning the cracks are apparent in the family unit. Seeking reprisal from ever more intense arguments, Ellie ventures into the forest and finds a friend in Momo, A masked girl who apparently makes her home amongst the trees.

For a young cast, Momo features impressive performances, particularly from lead Grace Cherry. Playing Ellie, Cherry masterfully switches between the two time periods, marking the age gap with subtle yet effective alterations to her movement and vocals. Tom Whittaker too is especially emotive in his role as Father, though his many accent changes (as required by his multi-rolling) become a little tiresome through their stereotyped lack of exactitude. The incredibly slick costume change transitions demonstrate the company’s clear capability for professionality, as do short lived projections and even some pleasant shadow puppetry.

Elsewhere, Momo boasts such an eclectic range of these techniques and influences, but some are pulled off more successfully than others. A depart from naturalism into a clowning segment seems particularly misjudged, considering its use to outline a therapy session. Worsening matters is the music, scoring the show with alienating repetitions of bittersweet folk songs and more chilling mood music. In all of its production aspects, Momo never truly settles into a single tone. Moments are certainly creepy and largely unsettling, but are intercut with cheesy comedy segments that lesson any blows the script attempts to make. Ultimately, a dark turn is so blindsiding because of the confused tone that is impact is utterly limited.

Momo is a frustrating show because of its clear promise. Sadly, the company attempt too much in such a short amount of time. Past the variety of theatrical forms on display, the plot itself splits its focus too much between Ellie and her mother, and it is not clear who empathy should lie with. With more focus on what they are trying to say about mental health, and some time to figure out which aspects of the show truly make it soar, and Loft may achieve excellence with Momo.

Reviews by Beverly Sproats

Underbelly, Bristo Square

It's True, It's True, It's True

Pleasance Courtyard


Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Naughty Boy

Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Stoned, Stupid and Stuck (A Californian Fairytale)

Underbelly, Cowgate

Hyde and Seek

Traverse Theatre

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Momo is a coming-of-age story meets a Scandinavian crime drama. We are transported from the eerie Finnish forest of Ellie’s childhood to present day England, where a presumed imaginary friend resurfaces, with dangerous implications. In a childish yet dark landscape peopled with mythological and strange forces, the play challenges our trust in familial love as an unconditional force, and blurs the lines between reality and imagination. It’s the story of a child struggling to find her place amid adults driven by destructive desires and loneliness.

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets