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Inkheart

Adapted by Stephen Sharkey and Walter Meierjohann

HOME, 16 December 2015

Griffin Stevens (Flatnose) and Darryl Clark (Basta) in Inkheart, adapted by Walter Meierjohann and Stephen Sharkey from the novel by Cornelia Funke. Photo by Graeme Cooper

Griffin Stevens (Flatnose) and Darryl Clark (Basta) in Inkheart, adapted by Walter Meierjohann and Stephen Sharkey from the novel by Cornelia Funke. Photo by Graeme Cooper

This stage adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s fantasy novel is a wonderful Christmas show in the tradition of, well, the Library Theatre. It’s a sign, perhaps, that the new space is beginning to feel like home – rather than like an adjunct of Frankfurt Airport, say.

Inkheart has a host of memorable characters and an edge, just a smidgeon, mind, of dread and jeopardy. Meggie (Katherine Carlton) makes for a splendid heroine, both she and her dad Mo (Paul McEwan) being on the run from Capricorn (Will Irvine), a baddie with an ink-black heart. He has a couple of henchmen, Basta (Darryl Clark) and Flatnose (Griffin Stevens). They are an Abbott and Costello-style double act, none too bright, given to extravagant boasting and OTT slapstick. Quite often, they steal the show.

You wouldn’t bet against Meggie and Mo though, not least because they have Elinor (Rachel Atkins) on their side. A gun-toting bibliophile with the righteous pluck of a myriad number of Margaret Rutherfords, she is extremely dangerous when roused to anger. In my experience, one should be very circumspect when dealing with bibliophiles. Don’t smudge a dustjacket, be careful not to crease pages and never,ever, ever suggest that there might be merit (just for the holidays, that’s all) in a Kindle Paperwhite. You’ll sorely regret it.

If you’re looking for a play that beats strong and true, a Christmas show that beats the rest, Inkheart is warmly recommended. You have until 9 January to take its pulse, details here.

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