Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Cuth McWildered takes us on a farcical tour that’s full of comedy and surprises. We take in them major sights of the Old Town being edutained and entertained at the same time, in a 70 minute show from Three’s Company.
We are guided by Cuth, assembling in the Pleasance Dome for just over an hour of comedy edutainment. Tim Crawshaw, our host, is geeked up to the nines.
Each given a balloon, we set off, following our guidein the direction of Greyfriars Krk. We stop at various places to be given nuggets of information, wrapped up in character comedy, and a bit more, which I won’t spoil for you.
This is a content-driven show that sometimes feels a bit too scripted in the background, so that, during the more unhinged moments it’s harder to go with it, because we can sense a script lurking in the shadows, just a little too visibly.
Yet it is also a show brimming with comedy ideas – physical and verbal. Tom Crawshaw plays and holds his part well with an able supporting cast. And you can almost sense the process of invention underneath what we are seeing and experiencing. A lot happens over the 70 minutes and it doesn’t feel strung out. They’ve thought about every minute with a lot of care.
As I said, I can’t tell you what happens as it will spoil it for you. So let’s look at the ingredients: a bit of edutainment, lots of comedy styles mixed, rooted in ‘Alan Partridge’ embarrassment, some physical knockabout and the added edge of we, as both audience and participants, (slightly) squirmingly on view to the passing public.
Crawshaw has made a bold attempt at cramming a lot of comedy ideas into 70 minutes and fusing this with a classic walking tour. It’s immersive, sometimes excruciating (mostly for good comedy reasons), occasionally a little laboured and rough, and definitely well worth signing up to if you can let go into it.
Some of the comedy moments are really unexpected and delightful and these stand out. They work so much better because we aren’t in a theatre space. Crawshaw and his team have taken ownership of the city for their production – no stage lights are needed here, not even a controlled and enclosed site specific space. They remind us that comedy and theatre can, and should, happen anywhere and also that theatre is a journey, a story. By physicalising that into a walking tour, they’ve added something new. There’s an uneasy dynamic in the show at the moment between a controlled and structured script and narrative and the exciting, edgy and unpredictable nature of being out on the mean city streets.
Sometimes it all converges and synergies beautifully and everyone is laughing or watching with fascination. At other times looks of bemusement or embarrassment are on faces and not for the right reasons. I think there could be even further work on looking at that balance across the piece.
That said, we came away smiling, and glad we’d taken the tour.