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Festival Review: Roots ****

Michael Cox reviews 'an absolute delight'.

Anyone familiar with 1927’s theatrical style will know exactly what to expect with their latest: Roots. Using animation, four actors ‘interact’ with projected images to tell a story, or for this production a collection of folktales.

And it’s all very charming to engage with. Some of the stories work better than others, but there is a relentless energy and a child-like innocence to depictions that include murder, deceit and an odd form of armageddon brought on by a hungry cat.

While it might be difficult to recall each story, it is very easy to admire the work of the production team. Paul Barritt’s animation and design is a theatrical treat: hilarious, clever and beautiful. Suzanne Andrade (writer and director) and Esme Appleton (co-director) have created a production that feels disjointed—in the best sense of the word. One never knows where any of the tales are going or what’s going to happen next, and sharing the stage with David Insua-Cao and Francesca Simmons the dramatic action is constantly engaging with multiple characters who amuse and shock—sometimes in equal measure.

Roots is an absolute delight: a joy to watch from beginning to end with many visual treats to revel in throughout its duration.

Roots is part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival and performs at the Church Hill Theatre until August 25th.

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