Superhero Snail Boy
A zig-zagging emotional journey through comedy and tragedy
This article is from 2013.
There's the bullied boy, the neglected girl, the depressed father. The characters are drawn with incredible humanity, and watching them suffer is heartbreaking. They are juxtaposed with sketches in which the characters converse with a giant snail who just happens to be the embodiment of the night-time (and also a snarky scene-stealer).
From melodrama to surreality by way of frenetic, bombastic scene changes, the result is emotional whiplash. Both the comedy and tragedy succeed individually but, rather than cohere, they remain distinct and jarring. Add to this some beautiful shadow puppetry and lovely set design and it is clear that Vertical Line is talented in a number of areas.
Sadly, this show does not hang together as a coherent entity. The message – about grief and loss – is buried too deeply for a child audience but provides an emotional workout for adults.
Bedlam Theatre, 225 9893, until 24 Aug (not 11, 18), 10.30am, £9 (£7)