Tröll by Trick of the Light Theatre, NZ, at the DreamBig Children’s Festival | Review
Review by Brooke Hendry
Scary scratching behind the walls, cables moving like snakes & a sarcastic Icelandic grandma that knows all there is to know about terrifying Trolls…
As we enter Space Theatre, we see only a table and a projector screen as the centrepiece items on stage. And throughout the show, these items are used to full and extraordinary effect by the main character, Otto (played by Ralph McCubbin Howell).
Using only simple props, puppetry and extremely creative use of light and shadow effects, we were transported on an intriguing journey back to the year 1998.
Otto is an awkward twelve-year-old boy, but on the internet, he pretends to be thirteen, and believes he gets away with it! He lives in an old house with his mum, dad, sister, and his mysterious chain-smoking Icelandic grandma, Amma (cleverly played by Hannah Smith/voice of Anya Tate-Manning).
Before wi-fi was a thing…
Otto creeps out most mornings at 4am, to secretly use the family internet. The older members of the audience are reminded (with a few chuckles) of the good old days of dial-up internet, mythology chat rooms, 90’s gaming references, and Nokia phones.
We were welcomed into Otto’s life, where things start as being simple and fun. But as we follow along, we watch as life starts to go downhill for Otto – both online and in his home and school life.
He begins to hear scary scratching noises behind the walls and computer cables start moving like snakes. Having no luck trying to talk with his parents about his worries, he turns to his eccentric and sarcastic grandma, Amma. She tells him chilling stories of Trolls and ancient Icelandic myths.
It seems Otto has manifested his own terrifying Troll.
It was a dark, but also a humorous and magical journey which touched on issues of the digital age, depression, illness and death. But Tröll also brought light and happiness to how important the value of family and real-life connections truly are.
We were kept captivated throughout this 55 minute show. It was easy to connect with Otto and sympathise with him as he tackled his personal challenges.
And although we were sent back to 1998, the same issues still affect us in today’s world. Making it all the more easy to relate to Otto and what he was going through.
Tröll is an intriguing, mystical, dark, daring and witty journey, which really makes you think for some time after the show.
The younger audience may not understand the 90’s references and may find the show slightly scary or sad at some points. But the show’s quick-witted humour does stand at the forefront, there will be laughs! And the challenges faced by Otto, also make for a great family discussion later on.
Things to consider
Tröll is recommended for ages 10 and up.
There are some low-level swear words, with references to depression and family illness/death.
Location: Space Theatre
For more information and all enquiries please visit the DreamBig Children’s Festival site
What: Tröll by Trick of the Light Theatre at the DreamBig Children’s Festival
When: 25-28 May 2021 | Various Times
Where: Space Theatre, located in the Adelaide Festival Centre
Who: Ages 10 and up
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: All photos by Brooke Hendry
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