The Toad Knew – The Lowry

The Lowry have been treated with two exclusive out of London dates for the Moliere Award nominated play The Toad Knew.

James Thierree made the creation, scenography and music of The Toad Knew to capture and expand the imagination of its audience. He also performs in this play too. He is the grandson of the incredible Charlie Chaplin and the great grandson of playwright Eugene O’Neill. With this much family history you can tell the influence shines from a distance. Theirree is well known for creating diverse fantasy worlds with his twenty years of performing experience, and The Toad Knew could possibly be his best one to date.

The cast is a short yet sweet one as it stars, as you would of guessed, James Tierree. As the ring leader of this mad circus he is joined by his fellow colleagues from Compagnie du Hanneton. The talent consists of Sonia Bel Hadj Brahim, Ofelie Crispin, Samuel Dutertre, Herve Lassince and Thi Mai Nguyen. These people bring The Toad Knew from the Sadler’s Wells in London to give the folk at The Lowry a rare chance to see this play without the trouble of travelling down south. This contemporary piece can finally test the waters away from the theatre paradise of London.

The choreography is an elegant and gorgeous display that keeps your eyes locked onto the performance. The Chaplin heritage is certainly strong with this as the slapstick comedy and the body movement from the performers were incredibly unique. Ofelie Crispin’s singing on the performance gave the play as slightly anxious feel, but it was beautiful nonetheless. The story is incredibly vague and wont be for anyone who wants clarity to be at a consistent rate. There’s plenty of madness that radiates from The Toad Knew that I personally enjoy with its hilarious illusions and aerial acrobatics.

The stage set up is extraordinary with the multi colour changing platforms which one of the acrobats spends most of their time using. These platforms are attached by string and move along with the play. There is a tank full of water that becomes fundamental the later the play goes on. Other various on stage props include a piano that can play itself and also, my favourite, the spiral staircase that comes from the ground near the start of the performance. The set looks like an underground hideout for a secret lab and it’s one of the most visually impressive sets I’ve seen in a while.

The Toad Knew is an incredible work of art that you will either love or become frustrated with. The lack of clarity in the story will alienate some, but the way you should see it is to use your imagination. You can even make the play metaphorical to your own personal experiences. It’s safe to say that the talent behind this are just incredible at what they do. The physical performance catches you off guard as you never know what to expect. The lack of story is slightly frustrating, but The Toad Knew is captivating with it’s surreal comedy and dancing accompanied by tremendous visuals.

The Toad Knew only has one date left at The Lowry so you can check for tickets here.

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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