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A Very Very Very Dark Matter Review – Bridge Theatre

More of the same humour and darkness from
Martin McDonagh

I never tire of watching In Bruges. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is one of my favourite films of this year. Lieutenant of Inishmore was worth the hype (at least what I heard of it, never buy restricted view theatre seats).

If you’ve enjoyed McDonagh’s work so far, you’ll definitely enjoy A Very Very Very Dark Matter.

McDonagh has a recurring theme of basing his work on controversial subjects. At the heart of the stories of In Bruges, Three Billboards and Lieutenant of Inishmore were the killing of a child, the rape of a young female and the violent acts of an Irish IRA splinter group member.

A Very Very Very Dark Matter is a black comedy in the same vein.

The story revolves around the children’s writer Hans Christian Anderson and his secret. His stories are written by a black, pygmy midget who lives in a three foot box in his attic.

The set design is detailed and elaborate with many props. Even the background is filled with wooden dolls giving a very creepy atmosphere.

Jim Broadbent plays Hans as a Michael Caine/Homer Simpson hybrid, who gets sillier and closer to Homer as the play goes on (resorting to child’s speak at one point). It was a joy to watch him prance around the stage, playing the most ridiculous and obnoxious character.

While lead actress Johnetta Eula’Mae Ackles grew in confidence as the night went on and the evil brothers played by Dirk (Ryan Pope) and Barry (Graeme Hawley) delivered McDonagh’s trademark nonsensical yet humorous dialogue with a plomb, having the audience in stitches.

It’s definitely not the smartest of McDonagh’s work. The dialogue is crass and is heavy on National stereotypes as is In Bruges. But there is something funny about Charles Dickens (played brilliantly by Phil Daniels) getting frustrated and going on an F word rant. It does miss the one life affirming moment many of McDonagh’s leads have, meaning you don’t sympathise with Hans at all.

The tongue is firmly in the cheek in A Very Very Very Dark Matter, and as long as you remember this, you’ll love this as much as McDonagh’s previous work. The plot is as ridiculous as Lieutenant of Inishmore.

I bought my ticket for £20 in the stalls with a great view from TodayTix, download the app – it’s great!

Rating 4/5
12th October – 6th January 2019
Bridge Theatre


Looking to watch a classic play? Read review of Macbeth at the Barbican Centre, staring Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack.

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