Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Trick of the Light Theatre take us back to 1998 when the internet was slow, video games were basic and mobile phones were the latest fad. We follow the twelve year-old Otto (Ralph McCubbin Howell) as he discovers an online world which turns out to be just as confusing and strange as the real world he lives in.

Troll is a multimedia extravaganza with shadow puppetry, projected animation, traditional hand puppetry and even Lego being expertly employed to tell the story. Throughout the show Otto attempts to make friends and adjust to a new home. This causes him anxiety and sparks the personal journey that he finds himself on.

When the solo performer takes to the stage for the first time, they turn their back to the audience and shine a light on the table that is centre stage. The light casts a shadow on the back wall of performance space and the resulting image makes the audience audibly gasp. This magic continues throughout the show. However, each wonderful piece of shadow puppetry is augmented with vocals and the images alone are more than enough to carry the story and keep the eager audience enthralled. 

The story of Troll is fairly straight forward, but conflict and menace are never far away. Music and mood lighting add to the darkness and create a claustrophobic and enchanting world. Otto is plagued by online tormentors and the horror of this is amplified in real life due to the fact that a Troll lives in the wall of his new home. In the world of Troll fantasy and reality seem like the same thing and the combination of the two makes the performance feel fresh and exciting.

The show ends with a genuine twist that the audience didn’t see coming. Just as there were gasps at the start of Troll, they are even more prominent towards the end when roles are reversed and a beautiful and poignant conclusion is presented.