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Published on Saturday, 20 August 2011

4 stars

C Venues - C eca (venue website)
3-15, 17-29 Aug, 9:05pm-10:05pm
Reviewed by Carmel Doohan

 Parental Guidance. Parents or guardians should consider the content of this show if children are attending.

We begin with earthworms waddling in sleeping bags, as they sing about eyeballs being eaten… and the craziness doesn't let up for a moment. This world, where kangaroos bounce through the English countryside and earwigs talk, is surreal and unexpectedly hilarious.

Ada is camping in the New Forest, with her new boyfriend. But the fact he is highly strung and a bit of a eco-geek is the least of her problems; her dead mother is trying to communicate with her through birds and foxes, and her son has dug a tunnel through the centre of the earth.

Beneath the ridiculousness of the tale there is subtlety and skill. A pigeon made from a hardback book is stunning, and the actress playing the mother-slash-female-worm has enormous energy and comic talent. An eight-year-old boy is embodied in a full grown man; gormless, earnest and completely ADHD, he is utterly convincing. 

You wouldn't guess, but Aireborne Theatre is part of Leeds University Union. Despite their plays being designed, devised and performed by students the results are admirably professional. The aesthetic may be low-fi and the story silly, but this dark, daft song and dance is massively enjoyable.

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