Last year the inclusive theatre company, Haringey Shed, brought their production of The Dividing Line to The Bernie Grant Arts Centre and this year they are back with the joyfully titled “The Amazing Journey of The Grimacing Podge or The Missing Me.”
“Grimacing Podge” was the nickname given to a grumpy child at a wedding. The story was then told to the members Haringey Shed and from this kernel of an idea, a show has been devised that involves a cast of over 40 young people with sets designed by Emergency Exit Arts.
The narrative follows our hero, Podge, as he battles inner conflicts on a seemingly simple mission that evolves into a complex journey of the soul.
“The story is about a young man. Just like any other young man: exams, homework, tidying his room…,” says Eddie Latter, Artistic Director of Haringey Shed.
“What follows is quite an amazing journey. A journey of self-discovery. A journey to unknown places, each one presenting challenges of their own.”
This is a show that young people everywhere will identify with. It dares to raise all of our youthful anxieties, pick over and unravel them, and offer up a range of alternative perspectives.
The process that the cast have navigated – to devise the story’s denouement – must have exposed them to the entire gamut of emotions and this experience is, in turn, passed to the audience who will be delightfully surprised at their part in the evening’s performance.
We travel through Podge’s mind, from one emotional world to another, each represented by an ensemble of suitably attired characters; there is the world of fearfulness – cleverly conveyed using bubble-wrapped limbs, body language and dialogue that portrays how terrifying decision-making or taking action can be.
Humour abounds and at one stage in the journey, our hero comically pits the characters of ‘recklessness’ and ‘hope’ against each other, each offering Podge a differing outcome in his quest. There are hints of Monty Python and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in here, with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in the dialogue where we witness the kids’ wickedly dark humour at play in the script.
In a scene that deals with anxiety and insomnia a party-atmosphere takes over and it is easy to imagine dancing the night away with this troupe of young actors. The musical numbers are rousing; the reasons to nurture your soul become clear, the obstacles are merely challenges to be negotiated, and the battles to overcome are often collectively won.
If you are looking for an emotional roller-coaster, ultimately feel-good evening for all the family, this is the show for you. What more do we need from a night out at the theatre?
For two more nights only, book here for “The Amazing Journey of The Grimacing Podge or The Missing Me.” 28th & 29th March 2018, 7pm
Words by Sophie Smith
Images Courtesy Haringey Shed