As I am neither a parent nor a child, I must admit I had never set foot inside the Unicorn Theatre in Southwark before and I’m furious at myself because of it. This delightful little gem of a theatre is tucked away on Tooley Street and if the show Something Very Far Away is anything to judge by, a producer of outstanding work.
Something Very Far Away is something very special. The show follows a man called Kepler whose two passions in life are astrology and the love for his wife. When a tragic accident happens the man uses his knowledge of the universe to build a space ship in order to catch glimpses of her through space and time. Using the premise that when you look at the stars you are looking into the past he sails through the universe, landing on different planets to see his wife through his trusted telescope.
Using multiple video cameras, puppets, miniature sets, animation and shadows, the story is projected live onto a large screen, with the company manipulating the props on stage to create the videos. It’s quite a situation to get your head around but is absolutely visually stunning. The puppets are brought to life with subtle nuances and gestures that create a delicately beautiful show that enthrals both children and adults alike. The whole piece has a fantastically cardboard and homespun feel about it and the company’s inventiveness means that the enormity of space is portrayed with imagination. The central love story between Kepler and his wife is so intimate and lovely I don’t mind telling you that I cried for about 45% of the show, and I wasn’t the only one.
Something Very Far Away is not just children’s theatre at its best, its theatre at its best. In the same way if you don’t cry at the first 5 minutes of Disney’s Up you probably haven’t got a soul, if you don’t love Something Very Far Away you probably don’t have a heart. Enchanting, heart-breaking and beautiful, this show reminds you just how moving theatre can be.
n.b Not keen on going to see a show with lots of children? The Unicorn have special late performances for adults… so you have no excuse not to see this show!
Reviewed by Roz Carter