20 January 2022, The Tablet

Dodgy foundations

Dodgy foundations

The House

The makers of the stop-motion ­animation (stop-motion is models, like Wallace and Gromit, not cartoons) The House (14 January) have lined up a lot of starry, familiar voices. Putting the name to the face in fact may prove distracting – was that Stephanie Cole/Helena Bonham Carter/Jarvis Cocker?

The House is an anthology, a collection of three short fables written by Irish playwright Enda Walsh. It’s the same house – a sinisterly blank Georgian double-fronter – and each story visits a new inhabitant. The characters are felt puppets which feel a bit creepy and Victorian. In story one, the house is built by a possibly demonic architect for a poor family. When they move out of their humble woodland hut into the cold and inhospitable mansion, the family appear to have struck, unwittingly, a terrible bargain with the creators of the house. The action is seen through the eyes of the child Mabel who wanders the corridors finding stairless staircases and lurking figures. They should have read the small print.

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