The Magic Carpet, Lyric Hammersmith, London

Magic? Oh no, I forgot to add the magic
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The Independent Culture

A travelling storyteller emerges from her tent, pointing out two dancing stars which, by the end, we have learned are the immortalised lovers, Miloshin and Zhvita.

In between, a trio of talking magpies, who look like totemic deities crossed with Camden Market goths, sit on trapezes arguing over which of their favourite humans will prove the best thief. From there we jump to the adventures of Stephen Mangan's bandana-sporting Miloshin and Sharon Duncan-Brewster's cool-cat Zhivta who start out as rival bandits. Each sneaks into the Sultan's super-fortified palace to nab a hoard of jewels, but then they team up and valiantly dash - with the help of a flying carpet - to prevent an embittered magician from silencing the world's music.

They defeat his dastardly plan but, alas, this show is a sorely disappointing mess. The narrative frames, with the storyteller and magpies, are scrappy and the physical-theatre ingredients are underdeveloped too. Little is done with the trapezes. Miloshin dives through a hatch in pursuit of a fish then appears, in silhouette, ascending from floor to ceiling, making no clear swimming movements. Also, why are there half a dozen dancing stars, zooming around like Tinkerbells? To his credit Mangan is hilariously cheeky and swanky, talking to the animals in a heavy Spanish accent that makes them snort. However, almost everyone involved here has been a thousand-and-one times better, including Farr's writer/co-adaptor Ben Hopkins, who has won awards for his film work.

To 14 January, 08700 500 511

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