Mark Twain’s The Stolen White Elephant

Aug 26 2023 | By More

★★★☆☆      Absurd

Paradise in The Vault (Venue 29): 14 – 27 Aug 2023
Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Performed by Andy Dickinson, this version of Mark Twain’s absurd short story The Stolen White Elephant changes the original setting of New Jersey to Manchester. It’s amusing, satirical and totally bizarre.

The story begins with the King of Siam deciding to gift the Queen a Siamese white elephant. When the humongous elephant gets to England, it is stolen. Working on the case is Inspector Blunt and his detectives who are driven by rewards. Despite their confidence, they are pretty useless.

Andy Dickinson in The Stolen White Elephant.

There is limited variation in Dickinson’s tone and the pace remains similar throughout which contrasts to the crazy story being told.

Rather than distracting the listeners with over-the-top impressions and forcing tension, it allows focus to remain on the words and the humour in Twain’s story. In saying this, it does feel that more could have been brought out through the storytelling; which would have heightened the humorous moments further.

When it risks being overly monotonous, it is broken up nicely with projected animations created by video designer Enrique Munoz and using the artwork of Karin Jacobsen in the same style as on the poster image.

It perhaps won’t be laugh out loud funny for all, as the humour is absurd and the story quite ridiculous, but a niche group will find it an enjoyable hour.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Paradise in The Vault (The Vault), 11 Merchant Street, EH1 2QD (Venue 29)
Monday 14 – Sunday 27 Aug
Daily (not Sun 20): 8pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Stolen Elephant links

Twitter: @StolenElTheatre

Facebook: @StolenElephantTheatre

Instagram: @stolenelephanttheatre


Poster for The Stolen White Elephant



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