Too often the cast are let down by a lack of imagination in their movements
The cast includes one girl and three boys at various stages of innocence and fear, allowing us to guess their ages. There is a threatening undercurrent of reality running through the children’s various antics - from the dominating figure of ‘The Count’ played by the oldest, most powerful boy to his real (and imagined) jealousy for the romantic couple played by the middle boy and the girl. Whether these threats (or those of the mysterious noises ‘upstairs’) are real, remains to be seen as the games gather momentum towards a melodramatic climax.
The action is split between moments when the lights are on and the children are themselves, and sequences in the dark, lit by torches that the actors hold to illuminate each other. These sequences delineate the ‘imaginary’ scenes with an eclectic backdrop of well-chosen music that suits the mood of each story. The use of torches create a blueish spotlight which is perfectly reminiscent of the silent movies they are emulating. One particularly good montage is when the children become lost in a storm at sea and they use a sheet for rippling waves. The torches are also used effectively here to create a sense of movement through flickering light.
While Lecoq-trained company Tooth+Nail are neat and accomplished performers, overall their performance here is just a little boring. Too often the cast are let down by a lack of imagination in their movements. For example, their mouths are often hanging open for no apparent reason. The female actor does appear more natural than the men; her movements often more fluid and therefore more believable. However, there is not enough visual trickery or originality in their movements to be entirely compelling and the actors rely too much on slow precise gestures that get tired quickly.