Needles of the spruce shake off and litter the base of the Christmas tree. There in the middle of Pemberley house, a cut of nature stands in a spot of water dressed for the occasion. The awkwardness is centre stage.
Between the scenes the lights go black save for a lamp on a desk. In the back corner is a man looking over notes over glasses. This is not a part of the play, and he is no manager of the factory. A mere trick of the light.
Wild with abandon sit kids a row behind smacking and slapping their maws as they chew, gnaw and measure out pops of gum, sticky of saliva. Silence is never there when the cheeks make such noises.
The classic tale of frustration leading into suicide and rethinking life choices to bring another year to a close. Once more another look over the bridge and wither come the thoughts of absence.
Travel is so much about being mishandled and watching your keeps roll off the conveyor belt, ready to throw your left shoe at someone trying to run off with your belongings. For those without an itinerary that means keeping at least one non-glass eye on the gate.
Freddy Krueger lines up with one of the more haunting sounds of the pop-sided 90s in the Ballad of the Backstreet Boys, laying waste with suggested blood and theatrical smoke. Bodies are dropping not to the beat of a drum but the sound of snoozing just another few minutes.
Beyond the gap-toothed seating hangs a mirror on the fourth wall (itself never broken) waiting for the grooming sessions. A man will paw at his facial hair a shave or two different to the man on the playbill cover. We are in this kind of deceit.
Rookies playing marbles couch the glass eye in the crook of their index finger and flick out with the thumb. Then comes along a shark who pivots on the thumb, ratcheting back the bonker on the tip of their finger and letting fly, snap and crack goes the dirt, dreams shattering into the dusty wind.
It's an odd thing to see opening credits play out in real life. As strange as you would think seeing them for a stage production. And so we sit as the actors traipse through, talking in silence and raising glasses and personas. The only thing missing, their names superimposed across the lip of the stage.
Word of mouth happens after the fact. The mystery then is trying to remember how you found yourself standing at the box office, buying tickets for a play where the venue itself does not make any mention of it beyond the lobby.
There is so much cheese here your back passage is going to be plugged up for the month. It's three main chunks of the Marvel Universe banding together to create a show that has another Loki juicy centre. Corny too, even though you didn't have any for lunch.
There's hardly any food or furniture left when The Master devours the dining room and fumes with comic frustration when it takes a while for the audience to cotton on to his name. Clear sign half the audience are fresh to Gallifrey.
Disembodied children's voices are creepy in their own right. When the voices talk back it's that step up into the attic where ghosts will sit during the day playing their pinochle and shell games. What a way to introduce someone.