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By Alistair McDowall

Royal Exchange Theatre, 3 November 2015

Pomona at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Photo by Richard Davenport

The atmospherics are good here but you are left searching for something of substance.

There is a young woman looking for her twin sister, who’s gone missing. Enquires are made of Zeppo, a gangster type who is alternately dressed in boxing gear and a coat and tails. He is a dude who apparently knows everything that happens in the city – one of those magpie dudes.

In time we meet other vaguely noirish types: the leather jacketed Gale, a contrite bruiser called Moe, this nerdy girl who in reality is a sort of Ms. Big. She’s behind the whole racket. It’s all very Sin City, the characters drawn in colours bold and gaudy and dark, but the problem is there’s not really much else. And that designer grit, the stylised shadow play, can’t really disguise the fact. It is altogether too much like a cartoon. You’re led away from reality. You don’t really buy into it.

A dark fantasy is all you’re left with, and rather a hackneyed one at that. I remember reading a storyline like this in an old Linda Barnes novel – and it didn’t strike me as being especially interesting or original even then.

Pomona is showing at the Royal Exchange until 21 November, further details can be found here.