Wow! What an emotional, heart-wrenching, powerful theatrical production

A Monster Calls is based on the 2011 novel by Patrick Ness and this tour has been produced by The Old Vic – I haven’t read the book or seen the 2017 movie with Liam Neeson and I decided to come and see this without any pre reading

This outstanding cast told the story so well that I knew exactly what was going on, the story was beautifully portrayed and full of depth that draws you in from the start to the end

Conor O’Malley (Ammar Duffus) is a 13yr old boy trying to cope with his terminally ill mum (Maria Omakinwa), angered by his interfering grandmother (Kaye Brown) and upset by his absent father (Ewan Wardrop), coping with the school bullies Harry (Greg Bernstein), Sully (Jade Hackett) and Anton (Kel Matsena) even pushing away his only friend Lily (Cora Kirk)


Tormented by nightmares, a voice calls to Conor at 12:07 – the Monster (Keith Gilmore) from the ancient yew tree has come walking 

The monster tells Conor 3 stories of what has previously made him come walking and informs Conor that he must then tell his own true story…what unfolds is a truly magnificent piece of storytelling  

The stage looked quite bland when we arrived, a few ropes, some chairs and a white back drop – do not be fooled – what they did with the most basic of props was exceptional proving you do not need elaborate sets to tell a story 

Seamless choreography, effortless strength and skill in moving the ropes, full of expression, anger, pain and all cleverly combined by a beautiful score performed by Seamas Carey and Luke Potter 

This compelling cast also includes Sarah Quist and Paul Sockett both playing teachers and Paul’s many climbs of the ladder to harness the ropes did not go unnoticed – the whole team were instrumental in moving the branches so well 

This story deals with some difficult subjects of feeling alone, dealing with illness and bereavement, bullies (which are far too common in today’s society), anger and mixed up emotions
Based on a young adult novel and the film is a 12A so I was surprised by the number of children under 10 in the audience

A very worthy standing ovation with many audience members walking out drying their eyes (me included) – I’ve not been moved this much by a piece of theatre in a long long time 

It doesn’t matter if you have no idea what the story is about, this is a must watch for anyone who enjoys the arts 

A Monster Calls, Theatre Royal Nottingham until Saturday 22nd February

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