This first production from newly-formed Bristol company INKBLOC ensemble (there are no ink blocks in evidence) centres around a mildly improbable plot in which the fictional seaside community of Bevill, its tourism economy in terminal decline, is suddenly hit by a storm which tips a container shipload of Lego bits on to its beaches. This brings in hordes of Lego tourists and the town’s fortunes change as it hits boom time. The action focuses on the tensions this causes with the little town’s inhabitants as they squabble over the fruits of their windfall; and eventually come up against the mighty Scandi empire of Lego itself. All this, and there’s a whale as well! Leaving aside the improbability of the story, the real joy of the piece is in the way they have chosen to play it. The cast sing and play various instruments in the course of the tale, switch characters often, and at times move in choreographed formation, all of which lulls one into an acceptance of the fantasy world, and its sideways allusions also to the real world problem of plastics in the sea and its effect on marine life. The stark set, built of plastic boxes, and the use of plastic for all props – clothes pegs for little fishes, etc.- emphasises this. And the whale itself is a beautifully contrived piece of puppetry. The producton is full of life, humour and poignancy from its versatile cast; and often dream-like, the devised music sending you off in a reverie: the whole effect is to envelop an audience in its private world. A sort of Under Milk Wood with plastic. Charming.
John Christopher Wood