The Colour of Nonsense

This review was originally written for the Londonist

Set on the ninth floor of an office block in the far, far north – in a studio with tightly shut venetian blinds and a lift that’s locked inside a suitcase – this is the story of an invisible artwork and some sacred aphids.  Three mad professor types create a design sensation and defeat an evil collector, helped by a parrot with a vicious peck and an adventurous fly called Cedric.

The Colour of Nonsense is silly and strange, and lots of good fun.  Forkbeard Fantasy have been creating multi-media ‘Comic Cine Theatre’ since 1974 and this is their last hurrah (all their Art Council funding was cut earlier this year).  The story is tinged with regret at the end of an era, and the characters’ plight mimics the performers’ real one.  Despite this, the show is playful and inventive to the end, blending animation, projection and live performance.  It’s not slick but it is charming.

We think it makes a great alternative to panto – it’s odd, eccentric, full of stuff and nonsense, but also clever and requiring of no audience participation whatsoever.  It’s accompanied by a free Theatre of Animation exhibition in the Royal Festival Hall, where you can get up close and personal with some of Forkbeard’s huge puppets, and put your head in a box and turn yourself into a monster.

The Colour of Nonsense plays at the Queen Elizabeth Hall until the 30th December 2011.  Tickets are £15 – £20.  The Theatre of Animation exhibition is free and at the Royal Festival Hall until the 8th January 2012.

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