Flyboy Is Alone Again This Christmas - Theatre Review

Grown up kids will relish Matthew Robins’ madcap antics in FLYBOY IS ALONE AGAIN THIS CHRISTMAS at the Barbican.

FLYBOY is actually not alone this Christmas as this half boy–half fly creature is with genius catapulted into a melange of quick-fire story tales based around life in a small English village.

Spiked with ruthlessly sharp black humour, Cornish writer and artist Matthew Robins introduces the audience to lots of zoo animals, dinosaurs, aliens and Flyboy’s ever loyal best friend Mothboy.

The beauty of the play is to appreciate that each character and back-drop has been intricately cut out of paper and remarkably manoeuvred, on an overhead projector (yes they still exist!), at a “do not nod-off” pace.

It brings the authors madness and genius to the fore – coupled with an on stage orchestra, in which talented Matthew Robins himself also champions the piano and vocals.

The beast of the play lies in the grimness and sadness of some of the characters as well as the coldly blunt endings in some of the tales. In one scene a frozen wolf is taken home as a souvenir, only to later thaw out and attack the unsuspecting victim.

It is a profoundly creative production and the engaging audience are invited to cut out their own pieces to be used during the performance as well as a sing-a-long, which adds an onstage freshness to the fun. Puppeteer Tim Spooner does well in executing his timely placing of scenes and characters in synchronisation to Matthew’s vocals whilst in full view of the audience.

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As a relatively lengthy production that balances the fun of simple child-like art with mature folklore, romantic- and science-fiction type stories, it successfully finds the middle ground making the play a must see for the heartier kid who can live without the “happily ever-after” finale, and also inevitably, a play that the kid in every adult shall relish!

* Showing at the Barbican in Silk Street, EC2, until Saturday, January 2.