Nicobobinus passes through Scarisbrick on his adventures

A review by Robert Howell, Spot On team member

My first show of the Spring Spot On season. Red Ladder & DumbWise’s adaptation of Terry Jones’ book Nicobobinus.

You’d expect a good story from Terry Jones. A sort of Gulliver’s travels where Nicobobinus and his best friend Rosie head off from 17th century Venice in search of adventure. After being captured Nicobobinus has his left arm turned to solid gold. They must find a cure before the greedy adults try to cut it off to claim the riches for themselves. They meet pirates, wicked monks and a mad king before they finally rescue a dragon from slavery and are rewarded by a drop of curative dragon’s blood.

That’s quite a lot for five actors but Red Ladder pulled it off, largely with the aid of an enormous set. It’s great to see such large shows on Spot On, even if it did mean that the audience was a bit pushed to the side. There were times when the size of the set obscured the sightlines for some but we didn’t lose the thread of the story. It was a good job that hundreds of Scarisbrickians hadn’t turned up on the door.

It was quite a long show about an hour and fifty minutes with an interval. It held its young audience. Nicobobinus was great. He captivated the audience with a cheeky, adventurous, childlike manner and light, yet rumbustious, voice – no mean feat for an adult male actor. The rest of the cast ran around comically changing character, playing a myriad of musical instruments and occasionally dropping the fourth wall.

It wasn’t all for children. I loved the chase when the wicked monks were trying to catch Nicobobinus accompanied by the theme tune from Reservoir Dogs played on the kazoo.

The show involved some projection which was ok but I felt the rest of the lighting needed a bit more warmth given the space with it’s white tiled ceiling. The set might have benefited from a bit more colour too – tricky when you want something to project on to.

The audience loved it. We asked one little girl at the end if she’d rather be Nicobobinus or Rosie – Both she said. One happy customer off to find her own adventures.