The Gremlins

Gremlins are mischievous little creatures who scurry into engines, and steal nuts and bolts and bring down airplanes. This time, they’re building their own. The Gremlins is high energy slapstick fun, and a treat for non-gremlins of all ages. Pilot Roxoff, his sister Moffball, brother Gargarov, and mistreated misfit Pensil, have a dream to be the first Gremlins to reach the Upground. Their super budget airline, ‘Airlinius Hippopotamus’, named after the most graceful land dwelling mammal they could think of, has a 28% landing guarantee and features live accordion in-flight entertainment, sure to cover up the sounds of screaming. The airplane, constructed by Gargarov, is an explosively ramshackle contraption, held together with sewn-together t-shirts, old fans and tires, and operated by x-box controllers and bread.

The Gremlins is an experience, and the hilarious and often charming physical comedy is only one small part of what makes this show so unique. The set is an incredible pyrotechnic marvel that comes to life as a character of its own. And the costumes, made from lamp-shades, old doilies, underwear and scraps are delightfully imaginative.

The game never lets up. From the moment you exchange your paper ticket for a handful of nuts and bolts and stand in line at the boarding gate, where the gremlins check for explosives ("Throw them towards the back if the plane is having trouble getting up"), and sniff and surprise their awaiting audience, to being farewelled with an ‘enjoy your stay’, the gremlins are high-energy, in-your-face pranksters. On-stage, their playful naiveté, coupled with slapstick and a Pixar-esque peppering of subtle adult humour, make for a wonderfully engaging hour of laughs. The characters are vivid and well-drawn, and the constant smatterings of the strange and fast-paced Gremlin language are particularly endearing.

The performers are obviously well versed in their art, with seamless routines and expert delivery. This is the type of show that delivers on its promises. It is silly and absurd, wonderfully imagined, and full of surprises and delights. As Roxoff says, "You can’t spell the engine is on fire without the engine is on", so pack your suitcases, strap in, and get ready for take-off.

★★★★