Marinka is 12 and lives with her Baba in a house with chicken legs that stands up and runs to a new location every few weeks. Together they guard the gate between life and death and guide the dead “back to the stars” each night. But Marinka longs to stay somewhere long enough to make friends and build a normal life. Parts of the story are evocative of Russian folk tales but centres around a young girl who is desperate to belong, something which will resonate with most audience members.
The show is based on the novel by Sophie Anderson and adapted for the stage by Oliver Lansley. It works well as a stage show, brought beautifully to life with set design by Jasmine Swan and costumes and puppets by Samuel Wyer. Everything is slightly kooky, folksy, fantastical, but also reminiscent of your grandma’s house, in the best, cosiest way.
Lisa Howard brings energy and bumbling comedy to Baba while Eve De Leon Allen is very likeable as Marinka, bringing charm and childish innocence to the role. The rest of the cast are equally strong and all play their instruments with pizazz too.
This co production between Les Enfants Terribles and HOME runs at Southbank Centre until the 30th of December.