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Review: The Twilight Zone, at Almeida Theatre

Director Richard Jones pays tribute to cult TV show in episodic two-and-a-half hour production that entertains from beginning to end

15 December, 2017 — By Emily Finch

John Marquez in The Twilight Zone. Photo: Marc Brenner

IT was the American show that launched a thousand tropes, and the Almeida production of The Twilight Zone proves that the tropes have much life left in them.

From the family who enter another dimension through an envelope-sized parting in a child’s bedroom to the American soldier convinced he had other men on his mission but disproved by a morphing newspaper article, the episodic production entertains from beginning to end. It also produces many laughs.

The two-and-a-half hour play starts with all the actors wearing monochrome colours in a nod to the original black and white show. Their American accents are so perfect you are plunged completely into their lopsided world.

The original TV show from the 1960s focused on the anxieties brought on by the often deliriously fast pace of supposed progress.

Director Richard Jones pays tribute through the use of kitsch green space ships and oversized alien heads. The floating stage props work in the place of the TV show’s dramatic camera work.

There are some highly relevant exploration of themes that couldn’t be explored so candidly in the original series.

When one group of neighbours is faced with imminent death from an unknown bomb, talk doesn’t go to why such a bomb may be falling but who belongs in the coveted shelter and America itself – a somewhat fitting conversation given the message the current president of the United States imparts.

Although the audience laughs at the escalating hatred towards the alleged outsider, the move towards irrationality rooted in the self is the dimension of imagination we must now truly fear.

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