For a play about storytelling, most of A Monster Calls is oddly unengaging and bland. Worst of all, it does the audience’s moral work for them, being increasingly didactic and offering its sincere insights into loss, love, and feeling on a plate.
This story contains no real heroes or villains. It is a brutal tale that focuses on the harsh realities of mortality, and our helplessness in grief and the emotional complexities of its process. This production tells it very well, especially in the quietest of scenes. A Monster Calls is not to be missed.
A Monster Calls is billed for ten years old or more, and its protagonist is a boy of 13. But be warned: this Old Vic young adult summer special is no cosy Lorax.
Patrick Ness’ novel slips perfectly into Sally Cookson’s fertile theatrical imagination. Its split-focused tale of cancer wards and midnight hour fairy tales suits Cookson’s gifts, for genuine human emotion and beautifully intricate theatrical imagery.
In the hands of Sally Cookson, A Monster Calls is an instant classic: a show that transforms both hearts and minds through the magic of authentic storytelling. Go with someone and join the masses who rose to their feet and hugged those near them.
Full casting has been announced for The Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic’s world premiere of A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness’ piercing novel is being brought to both venues in The Old Vic’s 200th year in a powerful new adaptation by director Sally Cookson.
Katie Mitchell’s revival of Sarah Kane’s 1998 play sees it as a ghastly nightmare, but overburdens the text with too many additions.