Feral

Feral is a beautifully imagined production which uses puppetry, film, cartoons and projection to tell the sad story of a lovely seaside town descending into anarchy. With great skill and precision, Tortoise in a Nutshell creates a movie onstage before our eyes.

The set reminds one of a cartoonist’s studio: a big, wide sloping desk with bright working lights hanging over the top.

The narrative focuses on Joe and his sister Dawn, but the story is really about the village they live in rather than these two individuals. We see the daily life of the town: the squirrel that likes to hang out with the priest outside the local church, the ladies getting their hair done in the salon, the teenage lovers kissing at the bus stop. Joe is excited about the opening of the new ‘Supercade’, a large arcade on the seafront, but his sister Dawn is not so convinced. Dawn turns out to be right and the Supercade wreaks havoc on the town’s idyll.

The set reminds one of a cartoonist’s studio: a big, wide sloping desk with bright working lights hanging over the top. At the start, one performer draws a picture of three stick figures: himself (Joe), his sister Dawn and his mother. He starts to draw the village and as he does, the rest of the performers set up 3D cardboard models of the shops and buildings around him. Tiny stick figures are placed into the model town and the performers then manipulate them. Everything is on a delicate scale. The action is filmed by the performers and projected onto a screen above them, allowing the audience to see the miniscule detail.

However , it’s not quite clear what this production gains from being a live performance. The only way to follow the story is to watch the screen – the performers don’t add much liveliness and often block the miniature puppetry in order to film it. The skill of the performers in getting everything working at the right time and in the right order is impressive and tightly honed. However, seeing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the filmmaking added little to the story, and watching it meant missing the beautiful imagery projected above the performers’ heads.

The audience was certainly enthralled, as the production is unique and full of beauty. However, Feral does feel like it would have worked just as well, if not better, if it had simply been presented in a cinema.  

Reviews by Jenny Williams

theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Nightpiece Film Festival

★★
Royal Oak

Yeti

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Inevitable

★★★★
Spotlites @ The Merchants' Hall

Case Number

★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Flight of the Lawnchair Man

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Fringe First Award winner, Total Theatre Award nominee and sell-out show 2013 returns for eleven shows only. Joe looks back at his childhood home and traces its journey from idyllic seaside town to community gripped by anarchy. Combining puppetry, immersive soundscapes and multimedia technology, multi award-winning company Tortoise in a Nutshell build an entire world in front of the audience's eyes. 'Sophisticated and highly entertaining. The level of detail here is extraordinary' **** (Times). 'Mesmerisingly inventive... technically, visually, aurally and politically, it's a tremendous show' **** (Scotsman). 'A genuinely exciting young company brimful of ideas' (Guardian). www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets