Grinning Man Portrays A Dark And Twisted Christmas

Grinning Man ★★★★☆

By Paul Ewing Last edited 9 months ago

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Grinning Man Portrays A Dark And Twisted Christmas Grinning Man 4
Photo: Helen Maybanks

As one character comments in this show, "prepare to shit kittens." The Grinning Man is a dark and magical tale of a boy with a perpetual grin. But it's definitely dark. And if you like that sort of thing it's a welcome break from the relentless cheery musical fare around Christmas.

There's puppetry and style in this Victor Hugo story about a boy who's mutilated, saves a baby, makes a living as a freak and then wins over a kingdom. Louis Maskell as the Grinpayne the disfigured boy is conveys emotion and excitement. Julian Bleach as the bitter nasty clown is hilarious.

With its dazzling production and inspired music, it has the potential to be the next great British musical. Perhaps if it gets the tone right and cuts a little bit more from the second half it will.

The Grinning Man, Trafalgar Studios, Whitechapel, SW1A, £15-£85, until 4 April, Monday-Saturday

Last Updated 17 January 2018