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The Mole And The Worm

4 starsTheare503, London.  Run ended; next appearing at the Old Fire Station, Oxford, Saturday 9 June
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

Since I first saw The Mole And The Worm on its Buxton Fringe outing last July, the bilingual company Teatro Entre Escombros have been busy developing their show in Spain. I was excited to see how a fresh space, and nearly a year’s work, had affected the piece… and I wasn’t disappointed.

The audience enters to the sound of slow-dripping water, to see Amy Gwilliam’s antique English girl lying motionless on the stage.  It’s an incomparably still scene, which Javier Ariza’s hilariously awkward spelunker crashes right into, with some expert clowning and impressive abseiling of the theatre walls.

Teatro Entre Escombros aim to take their inspiration from the spaces they perform in, and The Mole And The Worm is a fine example. Fully inhabiting its surroundings, Lowri Walton has written a play that is perfectly at home in a black box theatre. Ariza’s charater explores a cave created from the the exposed stone walls and some well-judged lighting.  Far from “making do” with a simple space, Teatro Entre Escombros truly celebrate it and use it to its fullest.

The simple plot of a spelunker accidentally waking a girl, long-trapped and preserved from another time, throws two unlikely companions together; they’re forced to search for a connection, but ultimately admit its impossibility. The script neatly balances the comic with the touching, and the performers wear their roles with a commendable lack of inhibition.

Overall, The Mole And The Worm is an admirable debut for an intriguing and promising company. It’s been slightly extended since I last saw it, and the dialogue is now much tighter, more firmly paced and more confident in itself. Both the physical comedy and thoughtful script are now fully realised.

This is definitely a company to watch out for. They’re jetting between Spain and the Czech Republic, and then back to England for the Oxford Fringe... but if you can see a Teatro Entre Escombros show anywhere in the world, you really should do.

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