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5 Stars


Alphonse's journey is a winding, and sometimes confusing, one - but since it's the journey from childhood to adulthood, could it be any less?

There are, to be accurate, two journeys in Wajdi Mouawad's beautifully-written script. One is the trip of Alphonse, who "accidentally" runs away from home, launching a search for the young boy. The other is the journey of Pierre-Paul Rene, Alphonse's imaginary (or perhaps not-so-imaginary) friend, who travels in a much more fantastical world - until the two worlds collide, and childhood crashes into adulthood.

Along the way, Alon Nashman - a gifted performer - vividly creates a range of characters, from Alphonse to the trippy neighbour who perhaps understands Alphonse more than anyone, and the bizarre denizens of Pierre-Paul Rene's world - from ancient wizards to talking caves.

Creating that world requires some remarkable staging, including a rain of popcorn from the sky (trust me, it makes more sense in context). It, like the rest of this superb production, is pulled off beautifully.

"When we're little, no one tells us much, so we imagine," Alphonse says at the start of the play. Adults, on the other hand, "don't want to believe - they want to know." And perhaps the greatest achievement of Mouawad's script and Nashman's performance is in making children of the audience, by forcing us to imagine - and to believe.

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