Review: Curse of the Crackles (Shoreditch Town Hall, online)

The world premiere of “the great sonic adventure”, Curse of the Crackles proves to be 45 minutes of utter fun. Find yourself a dark space or wear an eye mask, plug in your headphones, and interact when you like in this audio experience which brings all kinds of sounds to surround you in your living space.

“Boing! Splat! Parp! It’s the Crackles! Those annoying little bits of naughty have muddled up all the sounds in the universe and now it’s up to you and Riff the puppy to put them all back. So hold on to your ear flaps and hop through a sound door – who knows where you’ll land?! From wild jungles to shark infested oceans, dark dungeons to buzzy beehives, prepare for an ear ticklingly brain thrilling sonic mission!”

This is an exciting and fun tale for you, the audience member, to go on with your new puppy friend Riff, Use your “fingerlings” to draw sound doors, to collect odd or unusual sounds which don’t belong. Imagine a discordant or amusing sound ruining anything from a pirate ship to a dog toy factory. How might that sound? Not just the sounds are chaotic, but the adventure is too. You won’t be bored for even a moment.

Through the doors you will visit a bee hive where all the bees bar one have the same name, a dark forest, a royal palace, and more. A child engaging in this will interact in the action and feel they are involved in getting the action moving from place to place. You can reach, point, swipe and twist to capture sounds.

The text is very funny (with jokes both tweens and adults can enjoy); the songs are easy to learn and join in; and the story is pitched at 7-11 year olds but can be enjoyed by all.

Co-created by Bea Roberts (writer), Ben and Max Ringham (sound technology and development), and Ed Stambollouian (director), with associate sound and composition from Nicola Chang, Curse of the Crackles is a lively adventure as you follow your new canine pal through moments of peril. The Ringhams were also responsible for the evocative sound on Teenage Dick at the Donmar and for the groundbreaking Anna at the NT).

Curse of the Crackles boasts engaging performances from Norah Lopez Holden (who was an effective Jill in Equus at Trafalgar Studios) and Sam Swann, who create and bring a host of voices and characters into the space. This is an innovative and imaginative piece that I thoroughly enjoyed.

You can book yourself in to join in this show until 11 April at the Shoreditch Town Hall website, and you can listen from 72 hours from the time of booking.

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