All good family shows should have a touch of edginess about them.
Something that makes you feel a little bit tense, nervous or even scared. It’s the thing that makes us feel alive.
Except at one point in Murray Lachlan Young’s excellent fantasy play, The Chronicles of Atom and Luna, I was a tiny bit worried for the littler audience members as a wolf went on the rampage. But I needn’t have been because, save for a lone high pitched ‘no’, they were clearly too invested in the story to go running from the Studio Theatre in fright.
I shouldn’t have been worried at all, bearing in mind Young’s previous theatrical offering, The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps, a wonderful rhythmical romp into a Gothic world you might find in a Neil Gaiman novel.
This time he’s gone down a more traditional European folky fairy tale route with a story about two children who go out seeking food after being left to fend for themselves.
In the end, rather than keeping the wolves at bay, meal-wise, they discover a Wolf in very different clothing.
With a wise old woman who lives in a cave as well, there are quite a few familiar fairy tale tropes for young minds to grab on to and yet it still feels unique and fresh.
The cast of four effortlessly move through proceedings with Farrell Cox and Becca Bindang providing charm and innocence in equal measure as the titular characters. Their performances evoke such empathy the audience cannot help but will them on.
Elsewhere, Fran Burgoyne and Alex Scott Fairley provide the versatility required to supply storytelling and puppet duties as well as the roles of Old Mother Redbeard, and exquisitely named Iffley Sney, respectively.
With Bek Palmer’s simple but effective design, it makes for a wonderful magical piece of theatre.
There were a couple of minor points, such as the glass ball, raised at the start of the play, which might have made more of a dramatic effect if it had indeed actually cracked.
And the use of puppetry, a hare and a bird, and to a lesser extent, perhaps the Wolf, which I would have liked to see more of, especially as they added to the magical feel of the show.
That said, this is a show that will remain in the imaginations of those little people in the audience, and some of the big people too.

Murray’s Magical Play Delights Both Young And Old: Neil D’arcy-jones Reviews The Chronicles Of Atom And Luna At The Mercury Theatre
Fantasy Folk: Becca Bindang, Fran Burgoyne, Farrell Cox and Alex Scott Fairley in The Chronicles Of Atom And Luna: Pictures by Luke Witcomb