Otto receives a photo on his phone one morning. It’s of the house he and his family moved to when he was around 13. The house where something nasty lived in the walls and came out to play…

This is a mythical story about a troll (both definitions) transplanted to New Zealand in the early days of the Internet. We find out about Otto’s (Ralph McCubbin Howell) favourite chat room, his intimidating Nana, his new school and which subject he dreads. The themes that thread through the script are pretty heavy – anxieties, depression, natural disasters, mortality, and intergenerational family relationships – and Trick of the Light Theatre handle them deftly. There’s a growing sense of menace through the play that never becomes overwhelming. Using projectors, mobile phones, puppets and shadow play makes the space feel expansive while isolating McCubbin Howell (even though he’s joined on stage by Hannah Smith). Smith performs various characters as well as operates the lights. She’s so calm and collected it’s a fun counterpoint to the sometimes frightening sound design by Tane Upjohn-Beatson. Director Charlotte Bradley is the final member of the team to bring us this inventive show.

Content note: The show includes mentions of mental health and earthquakes.

  • Troll on at BATS Theatre to 7 April 2018