Edinburgh Fringe 2013
"A gothic tale about diversity and freedom achieved through self-acceptance that will delight children and adults of all ages with its airy, dark and dreamy atmosphere."
Performed in rhyme, this enchanting story takes place in the intimate surroundings of a Yurt a Summerhall.
The story revolves around a family, and a child who is different. Coming to terms with that difference and confronting the pain and fear lies at the warm heart of a story, that felt inspired by Tim Burton and darker fairy tale throughout, though it never felt frightening – this darker feel created a safe backdrop to deal with the story’s themes.
Props arrive, are used with music, physical theatre and dance. The physical theatre is of the highest order – tight, creatively realised and designed. There’s a wonderful vocal choreography alongside the physicality. There’s a visual spectacle here, riding on the back of the story. In fact, the production is full of many virtues.
I loved the changes in tempo in this piece. They’ve harnessed storytelling and put it to the service of the drama in a way that engages the audience fully. The circular space has enabled some wonderfully atmospheric lighting, and sound. We are drawn in and we stay drawn in throughout.
Pasquali, our central character, is unique, different from the moment he is born. This difference is never over-sentimentalised in the piece. Life can be harsh, but we can come through, often with the help and companionship of another soul along the way.
The performance space is such an asset to this piece. They use the space so well, right up to the celing rafters. The lighting picks out the scenes in ways which enhance the story and the music weaves perfectly into the proceedings.
The three performers are all excellent physical performers and speakers helping to create and maintain the captivating atmosphere.
There is also comedy laced into the shadows, lifting the tale, bringing delighted laughter from the family audience.
The clarity and accents were sometimes a problem. Our nine-year old struggled to understand everything they were saying and lost bits of the story from time to time, as did I.
A tale of the power and value of our uniqueness and the danger and pain of being different, this is finest children’s theatre in a lovely space.
So, in summary: The Tim Burton grotesqueness of the production is ultimately endearing. The central idea – a boy who is different – is a suitable anchor for the tale. All three performers demonstrate a masterly skill in physical theatre. Accents were not always completely clear and this needs further work for the flow not to be interrupted by occasional frowns of not fully understanding from done audience members.
But it’s a visual feast ‘, a very well crafted and shared story.
We are all unique and alone in that uniqueness. Yet that is also the common ground between us. This is a beautiful and enjoyable story of facing and overcoming that pain of difference. I thoroughly recommend it.