Giant (4 stars)

This article is from 2016


credit: The Other Richard

Hectic tale of growing up brims over with theatrical exuberance

The Human Zoo had a festival hit last year – understandably so – with the warped and wonderful, vaudeville-inspired fable The Girl Who Fell in Love with the Moon. Their new show Giant retains the company's trademark theatrical exuberance that surprises and delights at every turn, but it's a far more ambitious creation too.

Tommy (a wonderfully wide-eyed Freddie Crossley) is 22, still lives with his folks (in fact, his parents and grandparents), and is in a dilemma as to whether he should abandon his dreams in favour of a mundane job and seeming security. Sound familiar? But rather than simply wallowing in post-university twentysomething angst, Giant fascinatingly charts how Tommy got there, who the people are who made him, and whether the mysterious noises from the attic have anything to do with it.

It's impossible not to be swept along by the company's hectic, endlessly inventive theatricality; a lengthy opening sequence charting several decades through non-stop music, movement and magical transformations is especially impressive, and moving too. But there's also a sense that the company may be trying to shoehorn simply too much into their helter-skelter creation; a trio of cabaret interludes, for instance, although entertaining, just end up detracting from the show's narrative. Nevertheless, it's a fine achievement.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug (not 15), 3.40pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10).


  • 4 stars

The Human Zoo Theatre Company Tommy, 22, lives with three generations of his family. They've learnt to ignore the strange things his nan says over dinner and the bizarre rumblings coming from the attic. Horribly honest clowns and questionable cabaret acts ignite the stage with Human Zoo's trademark live music, puppetry…