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The Clock Master
Published on Friday, 01 July 2011
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Underground Venues - Pauper's Pit
Childrens
8 Jul, 7:30pm-8:45pm; 9-10 Jul, 12:00pm-1:15pm

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Every object holds a story; and one man holds the key.  In this stylish show for families, which we saw in Brighton last May, the eponymous Clock Master unlocks the hidden histories of his antique wares – using storytelling, rhyme and puppetry to weave subtle, thought-provoking tales.

There’s more than a hint of Doctor Who about Dewi Evans’ Clock Master, though his travels are through fables rather than through time.  As he guides his companion, a selfish young girl, through the remembered worlds of his stories, the rest of the cast flit from role to role and bring his recollections to life.  It’s a knowingly old-school production, with creative puppetry bringing visual richness to the Clock Master’s workshop – and a mediaeval minstrel strumming along on a guitar.  But make no mistake: it’s slickly done, and there’s no shame at all in valuing youthful imaginations over the high-tech sterility of modern special effects.

The stories themselves are subtle morality plays, with plenty of ambiguities to discuss after the show.  They’re simple enough to follow, and well-paced throughout – and in Brighton at least, the younger members of the audience seemed captivated by the Clock Master and his crew.  Be warned, they don’t have conventional happy endings… and there’s a surprising “what happened next?” moment to round off it all.  Such is life: there’s plenty here for everyone to think about, and for grown-ups, as well as children, to enjoy.

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