Something Wicked This Way Comes
Dundee Rep, Wed 1-Sat 4 Oct; macrobert, Stirling, Tue 7 Oct; Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, Wed 15–Sat 18 Oct
With no budget to keep to, the human imagination can run wild in the best possible way. Which is why director Gill Robertson shied away from staging Something Wicked This Way Comes for so long. Ray Bradbury’s 1962 novel is filled with fantastical characters and events, and Robertson refused to short change readers with the standard of production she could afford.
‘It’s a story I’ve loved for a long time,’ says Robertson, ‘but I thought it was impossible to put on stage because there are so many elements to it. You just don’t want to cheat the audience, you want to give them all the exciting images and visuals you get when you read the book.’ Enter the National Theatre of Scotland, who gave Robertson’s company, Catherine Wheels the cash injection it needed to do Bradbury’s tale justice.
Set in small town America, Something Wicked This Way Comes follows the exploits of two 13-year-old boys, who get caught up in the machinations of a sinister carnival. Featuring an innovative set, live musicians, film and a talented ensemble cast – including a flying Dust Witch – Robertson has finally got the large-scale production she held out for. Theatricality aside, however, Bradbury’s tale of good and evil has much to offer on a purely storytelling level.
‘He really captures childhood and best friends,’ says Robertson. ‘It’s a real rites of passage novel, but at the same time you’ve got one of the boy’s fathers who’s going through a mid-life crisis and philosophises about life. So as an adult you get so much from it as well.’