Edinburgh Fringe 2011
A Spotlites signature children’s show blends the Robison Crusoe story with the very best of a Star Wars Adventure, brought to the stage with energy, inventiveness and plenty of force!
This is an interactive adventure – interactive in that there is an opportunity for the children to help on the stage as the story progresses. No one is humiliated in the process and it’s all done gently. The backdrop is the same universe of the Star Wars films with the juxtaposition of a space version of Robinson Crusoe, now a Jedi Knight, stranded on a distant planet, seeking a way off, hunted by dark powers, and seeking a powerful crystal.
The spirit of the Lucas space opera is captured with care with only the music feeling as a kind of film backdrop, quiet but present. There are all the recognizable elements in the classic goody-baddie format – realistic-looking light sabres, space ships and some neat holographic projections. The fourth wall goes up and down like a yoyo keeping the audience on their toes.
There’s a rare thing here; a performance that finds the balance between performance of a scripted piece and dynamic engagement with an audience. It’s all acted with full-hearted and full-bodied commitment and the opportunities for involvement of childred are fair-minded and well designed. Everyone gets a go, but not everyone has to have a go.
Another strength is that the producers have taken the original movies as raw material and gone on to fashion a new show from those elements. This is no pantomime pastiche but a piece of theatre in its own right. The characters are well drawn but also draw on the iconic characterisations of the films. We really have some of the film atmosphere but there are added elements unique to theatre; the sense of closeness, immediacy and also, not surprisingly, a more live dramatic quality. We have lessons about loyalty, good and bad, seeing things through and also we have fun, humour and a bit of fear.
I think the plot may well fly over the heads of younger members of the audience but the involvement and the visual spectactle has much value in it’s own right. It’s a great show for kids and well worth booking a ticket for.