Review: Dr Longtitude was marvellous

Harlow Playhouse / Wed 5th Aug 2015 at 07:52pm

Dr LongtitudeReview:Dr Longitude’s Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie:
At Parndon Wood
By Harry Tennison

LES Enfants Terribles brought a touch of circus themed fun to Harlow this weekend through their touring production of Dr Longitude’s Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie.

Dr Longitude and his troupe of storytellers introduce the audience to a variety of odd but extraordinary imaginary animals, including the Decapus and the Bumblewasp, all of which are puppets operated superbly by the actors.

The ensemble singing was strong, and the lyrics both simplistic but hilarious. Whilst the fascinatingly designed puppets provided the majority of the entertainment with the kids, the clever stories laden with innuendo and cultural references – a cow that looks like James May, and Nigel Farage being portrayed as the emperor of a fictional far off land – gives plenty of praise to writers Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo.

Stephen Spencer led the troupe as Dr Longitude, and was superb throughout. Catriona Mackenzie was the suitably scatty Flora Bakewell, who was responsible for capturing the Whistling Pank – and in fitting with the piece was then required to incubate its egg. Paul Sandys was a fantastically funny Australian, whilst Dan King was the bear-wrestling comic foil. Lydia Hourihan completed the ensemble, using her voice excellently.

The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie bills itself as being family entertainment, and it most definitely fits the bill. The script rolled effortlessly and the piece drew laughs consistently. The children waved and laughed at the puppets, as well as joining in with the songs.

To have such an innovative and inventive company as Les Enfant Terribles visit Harlow on their tour is a great coup for art in the town, and I hope they return very soon.

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