Oh what it is to welcome one of THE most memorable plays of 2015, Cartoonopolis, back to its home city of Liverpool. A lot’s happened in the interim, but it’s great to report that none of the lustre has been tarnished in what is an exemplary performance of an exemplary show.
Lewis Bray, in the roles of his entire family – including that of his extremely autistic brother Jack, who has created a world filled with his favourite cartoon characters at the bottom of his garden in order to cope with life as he experiences it – is a phenomenal actor and writer.
A quick witted script allows the action – of which there is lots – to flow amidst a maelstrom of activity which is, at times, as poignant as it is engaging. The struggles of mum Bev and dad Nige are laid bare, as they worry about the future of not only Jack, but also Lewis himself.
Armed with a simple plastic chair, Bray transforms the Unity stage with a dynamism that is as astonishing as it is brave, all the while never losing sight of the message of the whole: that we should understand and be more understanding of those better who both have and to live around autism.
The one liners and asides come thick and fast, but don’t be fooled. Despite the giggles and guffaws this is not a light, easy watch. Cartoonopolis, beneath the smoke and mirrors, is a play enriched by its deep rooted intent, which never over burdens its plot.
Further to this is the fact that never once does Bray try to invoke pity for Jack. Instead, with deft dexterity, we feel drawn into his world by degrees that beforehand would have been thought of as unimaginable.
In short, Cartoonopolis deserves every plaudit it has received throughout this extensive nationwide tour and should be seen by all those – young and old – who wish to develop their understanding of this most complex and singularly individual of disorders.
The Unity Theatre, Liverpool
June 20-June 21
Cast/Author: Lewis Bray
PR Rating: ***** Outstanding
For Tickets: http://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk
Read Lewis Bray talk all things Cartoonopolis and more, here: http://www.purplerevolver.com/style/theatre/126638-lewis-bray%5Cs-acclaimed-cartoonopolis-returns-to-liverpool-at-the-unity-theatre.html