Imaginary at The Other Palace
Opening last night at The Other Palace, heartwarming musical Imaginary, directed by Shaun Kerrison, is an ode to the wonder and beauty of childhood. Celebrating the joy, eagerness and imagination that reside within every child, the piece is also about maintaining that essence of guileless wonderment into adulthood.
Produced on commission by the National Youth Music Theatre, the work was composed by children’s book and theatre writer Timothy Knapman in collaboration with Stuart Matthew Price. Knapman expresses through this play his belief that conventional schooling stifles creativity and innate enthusiasm in children, something we lose significantly as adults if we sacrifice our youthful spirit – and that we should retain some of the kid in us, and that natural buoyancy and innocence.
Entertaining and tremendous fun, Imaginary is the story of Sam (Josh Gottlieb) and Milo (Tom Price), who are inseparable, going everywhere together. Their unique friendship must survive the realities of growing up and attending school – a place that becomes a new universe of secrets, twists and turns that take Sam and Milo on an adventure of discovery. However, Sam’s mother is worried Milo might be impeding her son’s development.
All the performances in this piece are terrific, and Gottlieb and Price are particularly outstanding and charming as the two boys. The musical numbers are first-rate – the orchestra is excellent – and songs like Imaginary, The Last Day of Summer and All the Fun You Had are incredibly upbeat and inspire the child in each of us. Lighting and set are seamless and evocative and the work clearly has superb direction.
The show’s message is that although becoming an adult requires attaining a measure of maturity, a certain unjaded curiosity and awe should never be surrendered. Very funny and deeply poignant with joyfully exuberant performances, Imaginary‘s narrative and music hit all the right notes.
Photo: Konrad Bartelski
Imaginary is at The Other Palace from 9th until 12th August 2017. Book your tickets here.