Does your child have an imaginary friend? Let’s say they were more playful, destructive, cranky and mischievous than all the characters in The Muppets put together.
And they were huge. And blue.
Then, you’d have The Elephantom.
Ben Power’s National Theatre adaptation of the Ross Collins book, playing at the New London Theatre until 6 September, begins with eerie lighting, some sultry brass parps bursting through a gloomy soundscape, and a little girl (Susan Harrison) who is roundly ignored by her self-absorbed parents.
Critics from The Guardian and The Telegraph have drawn comparisons between The Elephantom and David McKee’s Not Now Bernard (which I’ve also reviewed on this site). And, although the similarities are unmistakeable (parents who are too busy and preoccupied to spend time with their child, or to notice when they’re in trouble), to me The Elephantom was a richer, more complex story. Like a Famous Five adventure (where children face peril without any assistance from parents), only with the five children whittled down to one. And, for good measure, incorporating a strong Potteresque element of supernatural and magic.