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Skellig at the Young Vic

Marion Marples

David Almond's Skellig seems an unusual choice for the Young Vic's Christmas entertainment but it has a happy ending.

The story is well told by the supporting cast as a Greek chorus and grows from a familiar but not happy domestic situation.

A Geordie family moves across town to accommodate the new baby but while attention is focused on his premature sister Michael explores the derelict garage in the garden. Here he literally uncovers Skellig, brilliantly played by David Threlfall as a cantankerous and fragile loner.

The production then changes gear as he is gradually won over by Michael and his precocious William Blake-quoting new friend Mina. They bring him food and help him escape from the demolition men.

Owls, evolution and angels become the new language as the friends discover wings and fly. Skellig imparts strength to the sick baby sister in hospital. Later there is a comic dance done by the residents of the arthritis ward.

The finale is 'Infant Joy', one of Blake's 'Songs of Innocence' starting 'I have no name' celebrating the joy of the baby's recovery. This is highly appropriate as Blake lived in nearby Lambeth North.

• Skellig continues at the Young Vic until Saturday 31 January.
• 020 7928 9876

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