Creative Team

Bijan Sheibani

Bunny Christie

Lighting Designer
Lucy Carter

Aline David

Projection and Animation Design
59 Productions

Paul Englishby

Sound Designer
Ian Dickinson

59 Productions Team

Creative Director
Leo Warner

Director of Animation
Zsolt Balogh

Jarek Radecki
Anna Spencer

Assistant Designer
Akhila Krishnan

Video Programmer
Katie Pitt

About the show

From the National Theatre web site:

Join young Emil as he says goodbye to his mother, leaves his small town and sets off on a journey that will change his life.

When his money is stolen on the train by a mysterious stranger, Emil thinks he’s lost everything. But as he starts tracking down the thief, he soon discovers that he’s not alone in the big city after all.

For this classic tale of a boy learning to rely on himself – and on his new friends – the Olivier stage transforms into 1920s Berlin: a place full of surprises and danger, where everything moves at the speed of your imagination.

Make sure you’re among the first to experience the National Theatre’s new family show, the latest in the exciting tradition ofWar Horse and His Dark Materials.

Suitable for everyone aged 7 and over.

Please note that there are video and flashing light effects in this production.

Selected Reviews

59 Productions’ projections take over from Bunny Christie’s more realistic stages-within-a-stage to give us a black-and-white expressionist Berlin projected on to a Constructivist backgournd. Their work, hand in glove with Lucy Carter's lighting, is endlessly resourceful and not over-gimmicky in a West End way. They transform the skewed stage frame into a Hitchcockian camera lens, a whizzing 1920s map of the city and a panorama of the nocturnal Berlin in lights where a cabaret singer (Jacqui Dubois) adds tingly atmosphere

The Arts Desk

the true star is [the] stunning design. Expressionistic, wonky and sometimes vertigo-inducing, it evokes the Twenties setting and has a magic all of its own.

Evening Standard

Bunny Christie's designs, the real star of the show, do everything to convey this fever. Through skilful projections, Christie gives us geometric urban grids that remind us that this was the period of Fritz Lang's futuristic Metropolis. We also get vorticist tunnels that remind me of the dream sequences in Hitchcock's Spellbound. But the real visual inspiration is German expressionism and its influence on the silent movies that came out of the UFA studios. It is all fantastically ingenious.

The Guardian

Using a giddying geometric vortex as a modernist backdrop, Bijan Sheibani’s production aims for the moody menace of Weimar Germany. With shafts of light criss-crossing the vast Olivier stage to suggest the chaos of the city, a 60-strong army of grey-flannelled kids weave among bowler-hatted commuters.


The pieces plunges a child from the provinces into the teeming metropolis and, with its tilted black and white projections, Bunny Christie's brilliant design draws on German expressionist film to convey the dizzying feel of the place.  Street maps dissolve into neon grids, geometric but unsettlingly lopsided.  There's a Vorticist eye that becomes part of the network of sewer tunnels through which, in an added Third Man-like episode, Emil pursues the thief.

The Independent

It’s an exhilarating cross between Fritz Lang’s and the Famous Five. Bunny Christie’s design is that of a black-and-white Expressionist action film, all crazy angles and rows of what could be both apartment windows and film sprocket holes; the video projections are sometimes reminiscent of animator Oskar Fischinger.

Financial Times