Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Venue: Scottish Story Telling Centre
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
Andy Lawrence, superb storyteller and puppet-maker extraordinaire, is happily back at the Fringe with the latest offering from Theatre of Widdershins – and what an offering it is! The show is pure magic; funny and entrancing from start to finish, you’ll wish there was time for yet more stories when then show draws to close. I can’t think of a better place to take your children and everyone you know alongside them. A wonderful time is guaranteed.
As I settled into my seat at the Scottish Story Telling Centre, it was immediately clear that before me was a very special production. Full of beautiful and intriguing items, the set glimmers mysteriously in the stage lights as the ever-watchful storyteller (Andy Lawrence) gazes on. There were excited whispers in the audience -‘where do you think the puppets are hiding?!’ – and with the dimming of the house lights the buzz of audience expectation was happily proven justified.
The show is inspired by the tales of Arabian Nights, and puppets galore soon appear from hidden nooks and crannies, prompting audible gasps of amazement. Lawrence proves himself to be a skilful puppeteer, as well as an engaging storyteller, and as he brings each character to life all found themselves hanging on his every word. The characters he presents are wonderfully named and amusingly detailed, and the craftsmanship involved in the puppets is truly astounding. Lawrence makes all the puppets himself, and each is perfectly suited to its part in the story.
This is a faultless production. So often theatre aimed at children tries to get away merely with silly words and a bit of a sing-a-long, but the Theatre of Widdershins are far above such cheap tricks. They give the audience so much: a wonderful story of adventure, mild peril, and whimsy; beautiful and effective sound design and music (by Martin Thornton); and so many fantastical things to look (and laugh) at. It is clear that an incredible amount of work has been invested behind the scenes, and Widdershins are reaping the magical benefits.
This is a company who just get it. And the real triumph of the show is that everyone, young and old alike, had a simply wonderful time.
It is my great pleasure to give this show 5 stars without hesitation. May there be many more!