I really wasn’t ready for this. I thought I’d be sitting listening to a ‘nice’ family tale. Bless. But Riff the adventurous puppy (Norah Lopez Holden) was having none of it! From the very first WOOF, I knew this was going to be special, as her bark whirled around my head in all directions. What on Earth…??? In a flash we were off, on a quest to correct the cacophonic chaos created by the Crackles: those ‘annoying little bits of naughty’ who had mixed up all the sounds in the universe. I was sold.
Writted by Bea Roberts and directed by Ed Stambollouian, The Curse of the Crackles is a sensory scream, a party in your ears! The astonishing 3D sound technology from Ben & Max Ringham ignites the imagination and totally disorientates you. Just about every noise in the universe whizzes around your head, distorting perceptions of space and distance, dragging you through the adventure. I could physically feel the sensations being described by sound: yes that puppy really licked my ear! It’s amazing! Simultaneously, the clever, slightly bonkers wordplay smacks of The Hitchhiker’s Guide and Monty Python, and combines with a slapstick zaniness worthy of Roger Rabbit to produce laughs galore. From this too, you can’t help but create your own mental images are immersed even deeper in the action.
Our most excellentist puppy is a fantastic host, simply explaining the problems we encounter and talking us through how to handle each exciting, yet incredibly silly, situation. Crazy characters (played hilariously by Sam Swann) from gangsters to pirates, and a swarm of talking bees, keep the madness flowing. The show contains all the elements required to get kids excited – we’re in cars, underwater, pinching the Queen’s crisps, and of course there’s the odd fart reference. Additionally, it offers incredibly high production values, and opera singing that should keep the most discerning of adults happy. Within its crazy complexity my standout instance is when we need to remember the sound of rain: a simple task you’d think, but it creates an unexpectedly energising and mindful moment, as you’re tasked to pause and become conscious of your own sense of sound.
The instructions for the show stipulate you’ll need a pair of headphones, and, of course, an internet connection. The optional free adventure pack also offers an eye mask to help you fully immerse yourself in what’s to come. But they do suggest you can instead put your adventure pants over your eyes. I’d recommend doing either, to totally commit to the astonishing interactive experience. And be prepared to jump up off the couch and join in too: you will really want to. Listen with friends and family so you can share your amazement with someone!
This is an incredibly strong creative team, empowered by some of the best talent of London’s theatre, and the show offers extraordinary value for money. £3.50? I’d pay ten times that! I was still singing the theme tune an hour later. I loved this experience and highly recommend it.
Created by: Bea Roberts, Ed Stambollouian, Ben Ringham and Max Ringham
Written by: Bea Roberts
Directed by: Ed Stambollouian
Sound Designed & Composed by: Ben & Max Ringham
Associate Sound Design & Composition by: Nicola Chang
Produced by: Shoreditch Town Hall
The Curse of the Crackles is recommended for ages 7 to 11. It is currently booking until 11 April. Schools and group bookings also available. Tickets are £3.50 per household and available via the below link.