Edinburgh Fringe 2011
The newly formed Irish “Ofegus Theatre Company” debut at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe with an energetic performance of a new fairy-tale, filled with all the magical characters that children love …
Set in the fictional Kingdom of Enchantasia, characters are thrust into a magical quest when it is discovered that all the rainbows have disappeared. The story, billed as a ‘new fairy-tale’ features Leprechauns, Princesses, Witches (both good and bad), Wizards and Pirates in a plot that twists and turns its way to a final ‘happy ever after’ scenario.
A talented group of young professional performers have been well cast in the many roles, with some even doubling. The story is engaging, with comedy, skillful stage combat, and acrobatics – obviously using the individual skills of the cast. In my opinion the stand-out performances on the day were Molly O’Mahony as Witch Wendy (a Student Witch) – my favourite scene being where she attempts to TXT (Transference of Extroadinairy Thought); and Matthew Kelly who doubles in the roles of Dedalus (a Leprechaun) and Evil Wizard Zavelthor.
The show has no set, and with the many scene changes, it was here that I became a little confused. We were transported very quickly to many different locations throughout the story, and relying on script alone is difficult for a young audience, who usually rely very heavily on visuals. The lighting in the Studio space was limited, but I felt that this could have been used with more effect. Costuming was appropriate, but props could have been improved. Having said this, the performers dealt very professionally with props breakages throughout the performance, and for this they should be applauded.
Billed in the program as ‘interactive’ I was a little disappointed that there are only two times where the cast break the fourth wall, and these are both very close to the end of the show. Here I feel is where the most improvement can be made. As there is no set, this could become another element in the show … perhaps the set has been waylaid, and this is explained at the beginning of the show by a ‘stage-manager’ type character … and throughout the show the audience are called in to be the replacement ‘set’ eg the forest, the minions, the podium that holds the very precious orb containing the rainbows. In this way, the children would truly understand all elements of the show because they become part of it.
Ofegus Theatre Company states on their website: “Professional theatre for children is almost non-existent. Our aim is to provide it.” I believe the company have made a good beginning, and hope they continue to create exciting adventures for children.
This is an enjoyable theatrical experience for children, showcasing some fabulous young professional talent.
Three stars: Recommended.