Little Otik – Citz

To the Citz tonight to the first night of Little Otik, the National Theatre of Scotland’s latest.

It is certainly a strange piece. The kind of thing that leaves you wondering “why?” on so many levels. (Like, why turn an absurdist animated film with a very slight Czech storyline into a stage show in the Gorbals?). However, this is a surrealist world on and off the stage and so perhaps the question “why?” is redundant. The essence of the plot is that a couple who cannot conceive begin to treat a treestump as though it is a baby and then eventually it begins to consume their whole world, at the behest of a rather wicked neighbour’s child.

It was a slightly messy stage, lots of earth. Spare space. Clever revolving door. Real rain. Real cat.

Yes, it takes nerve to cast a real live cat in a production. Well, it was a real live cat until, ….

What stayed with me in the end was the creepiness of the whole thing. The creepiness was all the more powerful because of some of the beautiful things that were going on. A back projected wall gave us butterflies and birds and babies in the womb. The action on the stage brought up dark themes. In this kind of theatre of the mind, it is the audience who really are left to themselves to provide what coherent narrative they can find. What came to my mind was the absurd surreal experience of friends I know living the IVF journey, families spilt apart because their truth has been shattered into shards, the bitterness of the embryology and abortion debates this week in Westminster and ultimately the (thankfully very few) highly twisted individuals that I’ve encountered whose badness knew no bounds.

Everyone at the first night party afterwards (I was being schmoozed and boozed, you know) was very well behaved. No-one at all uttered the words, “…just like Little Shop of Horrors, but without the songs”.

Worth seeing.

Uncomfortable ride.

Rating: ★★★☆☆


Times Review

Telegraph Review


  1. Oooh, I loved Little Shop of Horrors! Must go watch it again. Think I’ll give Little Otik a miss though. You haven’t really sold it to me!

  2. Ruth, perhaps if I told you that it had the best comedy buttock moment I’ve seen on stage for quite a while, you might be swayed.

  3. I want to go and see it and have all my evenings booked next week except Monday when its not showing. I think Ruth should come to Penicuik and do a wedding prep session with a couple on Tuesday since she doesn’t want to see the play and I’ll go to Glasgow to the theatre.

  4. This sounds oddly compelling, though normally it wouldn’t be my sort of thing at all. Perhaps it’s because the surreality of it all feels rather topical and bizarrely close in some of the ways you mentioned. Sadly I’m not able to make it west this week. Shame it’s not going to be in Edinburgh.

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