Plucky superhero fights for survival in sensitively-portrayed kids' theatre show
This article is from 2012.
Creating a show about a child in need of a bone marrow transplant was never going to be easy. It’s a subject most children don’t really understand, and parents don’t want to think about.
It’s part of life, however, and if you’re going to tackle such potentially depressing material, then this is probably the way to go about it. Despite being confined to a hospital bed, the eponymous John manages huge leaps of the imagination, journeying on a quest to find the magic ‘orb’ (aka wellness).
On one level, this is a sensitive portrayal of how illness affects the entire family – from the emotionally drained single mum, to the troubled sister who just wants things to be normal (and isn’t too keen on being a bone marrow donor, either),
But in order to elevate this to a child-friendly level, a dramatic (but not always entirely clear) metaphor evolves, incorporating an evil Blood Queen and a ‘field of flowers’ (good bone marrow).
For the most part, the energetic cast keep the show coasting at a decent pace, but at an hour and fifteen minutes, it’s just too long.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug, 11.25am, £9--£10 (£7.50--£8.50).