Into The Light

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hijinx Theatre and Teatro la Ribalta’s international collaboration Into the Light directed by Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham and Krista Vuori, is a joyful, physical & visual exploration of performance & what it means to be seen, heard and importantly understood.

In an age where we strive for validation from those who observe us via clicks and likes the importance of physical human connection can never be underestimated. Into The Light brings together a group of individual performers some with and some without a learning disability and fuses their energies into a collaborative and visually dynamic piece.

Performers are thrust into the limelight, relishing the feeling of centre stage adoration, one moment stealing the spotlight from one another then the next insecurities threaten as they are pulled back into the darkness.

Being in the ‘light’ represents interaction, connection and validation. The spotlight offers an opportunity for freedom of expression in this inventive and delicately crafted piece of theatre.

There is very little spoken word from the actors on stage instead interview style recordings are played out during the performances detailing individuals hopes, dreams, fears, how performing makes them feel and their thoughts on how they are perceived when they’re both on and off the stage. This audio adds depth and personality to the piece as each individual voice rings out through the theatre.

The storytelling is done so cleverly through movement with each performer clearly finely tuned in their art, at times they toy with the audience, the slightest of movements decides what we see and what we don’t see.

Andy Purves’ atmospheric lighting is excellent and could almost be classed as a member of the cast while Ian Barnard’s music adds to the pace and flow of the piece with some perfectly chosen tracks ranging from The Mamas And The Papas, Dream A Little Dream Of Me to The Beastie Boys, Sabotage.

The inclusivity of this piece is refreshing to see, each actor with a learning disability plays a genuine and meaningful part in the production and is rightfully treated as an equal to every other member of the company. Each performance is thoughtfully considered and beautifully delivered.

Hijinx Theatre and Teatro la Ribalta’s succeed wonderfully in delivering dynamic and innovative theatre. The partnering with Frantic Assembly ensures there is humour as well as intensity in this lovingly crafted piece. Bold and inspiring theatre.

Further information can be found here.



The Toad Knew


James Thierrée comes from an impressive artistic dynasty; most famously his grandfather was Charlie Chaplin, whilst great-grandfather was playwright Eugene O’Neill, creativity no doubt flows through his veins.

A child of the circus Thierrée brings his sixth production from his Compagnie du Hanneton The Toad Knew to the Lowry this week for 2 performances only.


Six kidnapped siblings are trapped in a cobwebbed and dusty space, a skeletal staircase rises from the floor, a long forgotten tap drips somewhere in the distance. A wandering singer roams the stage, powerful and beguiling her vocals are jumbled and bluesy as they accompany the crackling soundtrack.

Thiérrée is the master of this show and acts out some brilliantly comedic sight gags which have the audience roaring with laughter, visually this piece is beautiful. Whilst his fellow performers wriggle and writhe the slapstick moments are those that shine brightest and thrill the audience.


The full height of the Lowry’s lyric theatre is used to maximum effect as a collection of lights hover above our performers, influencing and affecting their behaviour. One performer weaves through the wires and cables that control the assent and descent of the lights with ease and real beauty, tangled amidst the power of the kaleidoscope.

Whilst the piece is visually beautiful it is at times a little frustrating, occasionally feeling that just as sections are gaining momentum they end rather than reaching their full potential and deliver the wow the audience is waiting for. Whilst a very entertaining piece the lack of punch means the production delivers more of a fizz rather than the bag that the talent on stage are clearly capable of. At 90 minutes straight through this is an interesting and charming piece with some moments of pure genius and impressive physical theatre, with just a few tweaks here and there it could be magnificent.


On at the Lowry this evening 7.30pm