A new term of NNT productions has begun and Oliver Lansley’s The Infant makes a fantastic start to an exciting season. This dark comedy is a brilliant blend of laughs and chills, ideal if you really want to get in the mood for Halloween. Walking into the main auditorium, the tone of the show is immediately clear. On stage, amid what appears to be a children’s bedroom, accompanied by a tinkling music-box tune, bound to a chair with a skipping rope, is a figure wearing bag with a crudely cut smiling face. In short, a scene almost guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.
This dark comedy is a brilliant blend of laughs and chills, ideal if you really want to get in the mood for Halloween
Jess Lundholm (playing Samedi) and Emma Kendall (playing Castogan) explode onto stage in a ball of excitable and very infectious energy. Samedi and Castogan have been charged by some ‘higher power’ to figure out who is responsible for the latest terrorist plot. This plot? A child’s drawing depicting something horrific. The pair work perfectly together, the prim but eccentric Samedi contrasting and yet complementing the ‘dolt’ Castogan. Both Lundholm and Kendall are fantastic in their roles. Samedi’s motherly relationship with all on stage provides endless amusement whilst Castogan’s bouts of teen-aged sulking had me in stitches. Equally good, though perhaps a little over-shadowed by the main double act, were Cooper (Feargal Murphy) and Lily (Amy Brough-Aikin), the parents of the child who drew the offending drawing. Playing a couple accused of committing treason through a child’s drawing is a situation that is ridiculously bizarre but both do their parts very well, with Lily’s whimpering exterior hiding a steely reserve, whilst Cooper’s desperation to clear his name and fear at his situation shine through.
Jess Lundholm (playing Samedi) and Emma Kendall (playing Castogan) explode onto stage in a ball of excitable and very infectious energy
Not only was both the acting and the script able to inspire fear and laughs in equal measures, the set was fantastically well used. Praise must go to Sam Greenwood and Jess McNamee (director and producer respectively) for their ingenious use of one set for three rooms by simply dropping a single wall back. Such a simple set design but used very effectively.
The tight-knit cast did spectacularly well, bringing the odd mix of humour and darkness to the stage in a fantastic way
Being the very first show of the Nottingham New Theatre’s In-House season is never easy. The shows were only cast two weeks ago meaning that, with such a tight turn around, the rehearsal schedule for the cast of The Infant must have been horrendous. Though this did occasionally lead to a few hiccups, the tight-knit cast did spectacularly well, bringing the odd mix of humour and darkness to the stage in a fantastic way. I thoroughly enjoyed the production. If you’re thinking of watching a scary movie over the Halloween period, my advice: don’t. Go and see The Infant instead, it’ll definitely be worth it.
The Infant is running at Nottingham New Theatre until Saturday 1st November, for tickets see here