IT'S always a joy to see the very inventive touring theatre company Kneehigh when they come to Liverpool.

They continue to surprise, excite and make you think with each and every distinctive production.

Brave and challenging, they have been performing with style for decades and have lost none of their gift for invention, visual comedy, pathos, skilful storytelling and puppetry – you name it, they nail it.

Their classic, anarchic shows Dead dog in a suitcase and The Tin Drum sealed their reputation a long time ago.

The Everyman always welcome Kneehigh with open arms as do the audiences who know they are in for a theatrical treat.

They are back with a re-launched FUP – a quirky (or should that be quacky) tale of a very unique duck.

But beneath the multi-layered opening sequence there is so much more to this adaptation based on US novelist Jim Dodge's best-seller.

This is a modern fable in association with director Simon Harvey - the artistic director of O-region' theatre in Cornwall where this wonderful tale is set.

One hundred-year-old ‘Granddaddy Jake Santee (David Mynne) and rather large tragically orphaned grandson Tiny (Calvin Dean) live in and around the rural back-water.

Tiny loves fences - physical and metaphorical.

Jenny Beare as Dolly, Gabrielle and Jilted Jackie has her work cut out, just like every member of the multi-talented cast.

Take a bow, acclaimed puppeteer Rachel Leonard.

As you enter the theatre an on-stage band entertain with live, foot-stomping music. Original, thoughtful songs from Ben Sutcliffe follow throughout the play which opens with a bizarre birthday party for Jake.

Enter a feathered friend who has a taste for Jake's whiskey (more like rocket fuel) and a love of the movies.

This leads to a genuinely hilarious scene in the local cinema.

It is like watching a cross between a Road Dahl play and a panto, but Kneehigh defy any expectations.

You are in their territory where smashing boundaries and breaking rules are the order of the day.

Ultimately, they are here to entertain and this they do splendidly always with moments of magic, sheer beauty, poignancy and surreal madcap comedy.

The closing scene in this two-act, well-paced creative feast is one of the most stunning I have seen for many a year.

This is where the phrase 'I didn't see that coming' is appropriate.

I was lost for words at its visual impact and its equally strong moral message.

Kneehigh do not understand the meaning of the word 'ordinary.'

Five stars - utterly captivating

The show is on until this Saturday (October 13).

Tickets from the box office on 0151 709 4776.