REVIEW – The Possible Impossible House (The Z-Arts Centre, Manchester)

Being a huge fan of Sheffield based experimental theatre company Forced Entertainment – I was very keen to find out more about their first production for young people, The Possible Impossible House.

The Possible Impossible House --Forced Entertainment--
The Possible Impossible House
–Forced Entertainment–
Upstaged Rating: 


The Possible Impossible House is a wonderful exploration of the power of storytelling and a lesson for all, young and old, in setting your imagination free. The magical adventure begins as we travel down the long winding corridors of The Possible Impossible House. Claire Marshall is our guide and she leads us through the twisting passageways. When we reach the library we meet a little girl who is sketched onto a blank page in an algebra book. This endearing little doodled character is desperately missing the matching scribbled spider who used inhabit the opposite page – we are invited to join her on her mission to find her little eight legged friend.

It’s essentially a two hander with Claire Marshall recounting the story to the audience while Cathy Naden provides the humorous soundtrack. Comedy is created through storyteller, Claire and sound-maker, Cathy as they both compete to take control of the story. Both performers are supported by wonderfully scruffy illustrations by Vlatka Horvat as our journey spans elaborate marble ballrooms, secret cupboards and black holes and we meet an array of familiar but surprising creatures – talking animals, a not-so-very-frightening-ghost and an army of dancing soldiers.

“I really liked Cathy. She made me laugh when she interrupted and when she ate celery and pretended to be a mouse…everybody was laughing!”

–Thing 1 (aged 9)

The storyline is beautifully childlike, as if penned by a 7 year old, it’s spontaneous and imaginative. Under Tim Etchells’ direction, Horvat’s magical doodles are projected on to large pieces of torn brown cardboard all going to prove that good quality children’s theatre does not have to rely on lavish sets or costumes.

This production is as much fun for the adults in the audience as it is for the little ones. As always Forced Entertainment blow apart our traditional expectations of theatre- which is children’s theatre in this case. The result is witty, engaging theatre that doesn’t patronise – layered with irony and humour and pitched at a level that both children and adults can appreciate.

-Kristy Stott

You can catch The Possible Impossible House at Lancaster Arts at Lancaster University on the 12th December. 


The Snow Queen glides to Z-Arts from the 3rd – 13th December 2015. For more information and to book tickets please click here.