Last night I was fortunate enough to see a production at the National Theatre, here in London, thanks to a set of tickets I won in a competition on Twitter.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect of Emil and the Detectives other than it was aimed at children and it may not really have been my thing — but they were free tickets and I had nothing better planned for the evening. And if it wasn't very good, well, I hadn't wasted any money on it.
But what a deliciously entertaining adventure it turned out to be! I absolutely loved the entire show from start to finish — the set design and the lighting was just stunning; the music from a live orchestra was pitch-perfect; and the acting, from a huge cast comprising an awful lot of children, was superb. There was not a dull (or dud) moment in the entire show.
And even though we were surrounded by children (not ours, obviously), we did not hear a peep out of any of them — apart from lots of giggles in all the right places.
The story is based on the classic German novel of the same name by Erich Kästner (see the video above) and is set in the 1920s. It's about a young boy who leaves his small town in the countryside to visit his grandmother in Berlin, but on the train journey his money is stolen by a gentleman in a bowler hat. Emil then recruits a gang of Berlin children to help him track down the thief.
Sadly, the show is almost at the end of its very successful run, but there are still tickets left for the final performances. If I wasn't so busy, I'd go again. In the meantime, I might just have to read the book...