The North! The North!

Modern myth uses creative animation to tell a dark tale

★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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The North! The North!
Published 11 Aug 2017

There's a great divide, a fissure in the very fabric of the earth, separating the North from the South. That's according to Christopher Harrison's The North! The North!, a dark fable of monsters, adventure and destiny.

A family tragedy means our hero must return North to his hometown, having lived down South for years – he has a prophecy to fulfill. Along the way he meets several characters, friend and foe, in a tale with many influences, including Beowulf and The Skriker.

Split into eight chapters, the show has a comic book feel to it—indeed, there's an accompanying comic to go alongside—with Harrison's animations projected onto two screens at the back of the stage, as well as onto tables, upturned drawers and even the performer himself.

It all quickly gets pretty surreal, with evil twins, a woman vomiting eggs, people with tails, heads on spikes and a one-armed companion kept in a holdall.

Harrison is a wonderfully engaging performer, a ball of energy who doesn't falter throughout the 70 minutes. His use of the space is artful, utilising everything from desk lamps to napkins to tell his modern myth. A mention must also go to Ben Osborn's soundscape, which immerses you in the story.

But while Harrisson is obviously passionate about the world he's created, the story moves so quickly it's hard to keep up. The context of the tale isn't fully explored, so the narrative can feel a little confusing. However, for sheer theatricality alone, it's worth a watch.