The Garage, Norwich

The Garage, Norwich

Dark, disturbing and full of foreboding, the hideous fates which befall naughty children are laid bare in a brisk, lively performance by the young cast of Magico Theatre.

Heinrich Hoffmann's classic mid 19th century tales, which are surely far better known by the generation which gave birth to those on stage on Saturday night at the Garage Theatre, are presented with energy and no little creativity.

Billed as 50 minutes it came in a little shorter, so the uncomfortable seats of this cosy theatre were not a major issue. The activity on stage was handled neatly by a quintet of talented actors who all hail from Gresham's School in Holt.

Death and pain is hardly a funny subject, Hoffmann's tales are cautionary advices aimed at youngsters' behaviour and often lead to a deeply unpleasant end.

But Magico brightened the evening with wonderful physical theatre and real comfort between what appeared to be a very tight knit group of young performers, while keeping to the point of these frightening mini-stories.

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Fidgety Philip fails to sit still at the dinner table, eventually knocking himself and the contents of the table to the floor, leaving him stabbed with knives and forks - and eventually bleeding to death.

A son is warned not to suck his thumbs, but after his mother goes out he does so and a roving tailor comes to the house, cuts off the thumbs. And little Pauline burns to death after playing with matches.

While it isn't exactly cheery viewing, Magico are a clever, impressive outfit, despite their relatively tender years.

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