A Very Very Very Dark Matter

Martin McDonagh brings his obsession with dwarves, gallows humour and the writing process to London’s Bridge Theatre (until 6 January), starring Jim Broadbent as a hilariously demented version of Hans Christian Andersen. 

What the Dickens?

Opening with a fantastically creepy set and the disembodied voice of Tom Waits, A Very Very Very Dark Matter is riotously funny and brilliantly bizarre for a non-stop 90 minutes. The playwright’s ideas are incendiary and iconoclastic, dissecting notions of empire and storytelling with the razor-sharp wit of his dialogue.

McDonagh’s macabre mayhem is based loosely in reality, but a reality informed more by Stephen King than Andersen himself. It combines the basic premise of Misery, the genocidal subtext of The Shining and the time travel elements of The Dead Zone to form a very very very good play about the whitewashing of history/culture and the adulation of the grotesque. Let’s just hope it isn’t a confessional.

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