Where Me and My Shadow built magic out of light and shadow, The Lion In The Night builds these moments out of innocuous objects that clutter our every day. Wendy Todd’s set is a delight of organised clutter: bric a brac, upended furniture, a washing line and a bath-tub take their place in a combination of objects which at once seem opposed from occupying the same space, while also seeing like a natural combination. These objects come together in ways which of course make sense to the imagination, but with the help of a little stage magic, the imagination comes to life.
Blowing on a lamp and the globe glows brighter, pop on the kettle and you’ll soon be able to hear the whistle, ready for tea. Pedalling away with all her might on an exercise bike, Angelie (Eliza Lovell) races through the night. Theo (Rory Walker) clacks away at an old typewriter, composing a letter which, with the power of dial-up, flies up into the rafters. Into the red and blue umbrella goes the electric beaters, winding up the umbrella until there it is as a satellite dish.
Patch’s production, jointly created by the creative team with director Dave Brown, takes just the essence from Pamela Allen’s picture book by the same name. Rather than a retelling for the stage, strands and images from Allen’s book are drawn out and played upon. Some lines and scenes are taken directly from the book – and Allen’s soft poetry sits beautifully on the stage – but others are new adventures just for these characters. The resulting play is a whopping sixteen scenes in under an hour, but this short, episodic structure works well, as we join Angelie and Theo on short bursts of their imagination. With so many strands it’s easy to imagine the work would get lost or rushed, but instead the work flows along, never disjunctured.