OCCASIONALLY, very occasionally, you get the opportunity to watch an extraordinary piece of theatre. Many productions aspire to it but the majority fall short.

That opportunity has arisen with The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the Lowry. Put simply, it’s astonishing.

Based on a story by Neil Gaiman, this flawless production will have you captivated from the moment you see the large forest of trees surrounding the stage as you enter the theatre.

It just works on every level - it looks fabulous; the sound, so often the forgotten element in any show is magnificent; the lighting is oh so effective; the illusions, well you have to witness them for yourself. Then there’s the cast, first rate one and all.

Lancashire Telegraph: Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Millie Hikasa (Lettie) and the cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane                                (Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg)

It’s difficult to go into detail without giving too much away. But put simply a man goes back to his childhood home for his own father’s funeral and starts to think about his childhood. From that point the magic of the theatre takes over as we are taken back with his younger self to meet the Hempstock women who live in the nearby farmhouse. Are they witches, wise women or simply from another time?

Given that there’s a suicide in the first five minutes - that’s not a plot spoiler- and then we meet a lodger who may be an evil spirit from another dimension and you can see that this is not your usual offering.

A massive hit in the West End, this National Theatre production is at the Lowry until January 8 before embarking on its first UK tour.

It’s a show with real presence, it just feels special and it will keep you enthralled throughout before leaving you with a myriad of questions about what you have just witnessed.

It’s a play about memories, about family, about who we are. But it’s also funny, thrilling, scary - at times very scary - and compelling.

Lancashire Telegraph: Charlie Brooks (Ursula) and Keir Ogilvy (Boy) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane
                                                                                                 (Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg)

Charlie Brooks, free at last from Albert Square, is a deliciously wicked Ursula, the lodger who moves in with the boy, his dad and sister. There’s a playful malevolence to her which becomes genuinely chilling as the story progresses.

Charlie Brooks on the magic of The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Keir Ogilvy as the boy and Millie Hikasa as Lettie Hempstock are both outstanding and totally believable - he’s the bookworm caught up a magical world he can’t comprehend and she’s a special soul who discovers the power of friendship.

Lancashire Telegraph: Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) and Millie Hikasa (Lettie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg)

Finty Williams as Old Mrs Hempstock embodies centuries of wisdom and a nice line in one-liners and Trevor Fox as dad strikes just the right balance as a man struggling to keep his family together following the death of his wife.

Special mention to Laurie Ogden as Sis for just being so funny.

There are elements of Stranger Things in this production; it is also very dark in places. In fact you could interpret it as being exceedingly dark. The puppetry and choreography are outstanding if not a little terrifying at times, deserving of the 12-plus advisory.

But it’s a remarkable, outrageously ambitious and stunning production which merges myth, magic, love and loss into one giant sensory overload. Just go and see it.

Until January 8. Details from www.thelowry.com.