Grit @ Bedlam Theatre
Making full use of illustrations, puppets and innovative stage props, Tortoise in a Nutshell have created an important and imaginative piece of visual theatre that is a pure delight to watch. Using war stories, as told by children, as an inspiration, Grit is as hard-hitting in the narrative it depicts as it is dream-like in the visuals it presents.
Out of focus images are projected onto the back wall of the theatre. These images come into focus when the performers walk forward holding white cards. The images are now projected onto the cards creating a 3D live action comic book, with the illustrated panels depicting scenes of family bliss and war.
The playful imagination never leaves the performance and adds to the significance of the stories, which are inventively presented. Boxes in the background of the stage are turned around to create a cardboard cityscape. These boxes are then turned on their sides to present political protesters within a Middle Eastern city. This brilliant use of stage props totally captivates the audience as the performers play within this box world. The imagery is startling, being somewhat reminiscent of the animation and graphic novel Persepolis. The focus always remains on the story and importance of the subject matter, never straying from the magnitude and message they are conveying.
The forty-five minutes of the performance went by all too quickly, but Tortoise in a Nutshell have created a delicate and focused piece of brilliant visual theatre.