The Play: Emil & The Detectives, National Theatre, London


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The Independent Culture

What is it? The National’s Christmas show is an adaptation by Carl Miller of Erich Kästner’s much-loved 1929 children’s book.

The Independent says: “Child-power rules in Bijan Sheibani’s witty, whirling production in which 50-odd kids a night … give chase through the streets of Berlin to the dastardly monocled and bowler-hatted villain …. The show, which (with the wisdom of hindsight) is darker and grittier than the novel, manages to give a starring role to the Berlin of 1929 without dwarfing the comic charm and the touches of poignancy in the original.”

They say: The Times: “... no, Emil and the Detectives is not one of those miraculous family shows that is as involving and surprising for adults as it is for children. [But by] the superior second half … it has become as rousing and inventive as any show around.”

The Stage: “This is a very decent, enjoyable Christmas show which will go down well with families, but it isn’t in the same league as … His Dark Materials, Coram Boy and, of course, War Horse.”

You say: @SamJosephMorris: “great show with amazing expressionist-style staging”

@VerityNaughton: “Lovely evening …. Huge well done to all those wonderful kids”

Details: to 18 Mar; national