Browse reviews

Brighton Fringe 2008

Aesop’s Fables

Scamp Theatre and Bristol Old Vic

Venue: Komedia, 25th May


Low Down

  Three actors and a one-man-band combine with a host of colourful characters to magically recreate the most enchanting stories ever told. Fantastic family entertainment for everyone


 Children’s theatre, when done properly, can be such a refreshing experience, and especially when it comes in the latter stage of quite a long Festival Fringe! The award winning Scamp Theatre Company performed their production of Michael Morpurgo’s adaptation of Aesop’s Fables to a busy family audience upstairs at the Komedia.

 The production design was minimalistic, a bare stage with a couple of step ladders, but with imaginative use of a sparse range of props and items of costume the company proved more than capable of creating vivid and memorable stage images, perfect for the family audience. The charming way in which they turned everyday objects into all manner of puppet creatures with the help of live sound effects connected with the children in the audience, who were in stitches, especially when the donkey was unveiled.

 Tom Wainwright deserves particular note for his animated portrayals of ‘the boy who cried wolf’ and ‘the wind,’ his irrepressible energy and his varied physicality left a real impression. The high point of the show came when the company recounted the tale of the ‘hare and the tortoise’, which freed up the actors to mingle with the delighted audience.

 Benji Bower an onstage musician, who was also called upon to play the more hirsute characters, created unique songs to underscore each of the fables. Music linked all the elements of the show together with a catchy chorus that reinforced the morals. As an adult, it is easy to forget quite how useful some of Aesop’s advice actually is!

 While this production lacked the wow-factor of the Tales of the Terrible Infants it was a well-performed show that served as great introduction to the theatre for the young audience and proved to be equally entertaining for adults as well.