Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Molly Whuppie dance, Molly Whuppie sing… As she goes on an adventure from her home at the side of the sea through the forest, past the giant’s house to see the King for food for the Winter Feast we willingly go with her. As she agrees to help the King’s cunning plan before an attack of conscience sees her do the right thing and get what she wanted for her family and friends, we are there all the way to the conclusion of the story, singing and shouting encouragement.
We enter to 4 people onstage who break the 4th wall to help the young ones understand what is going on. It is a very clever ploy as the young ones are critical to the success of the entire venture – both the play and the performance. The cast of characters are not massive and both actors take on the roles – whichever they have – with much verve and enthusiasm that the easy to follow story is told in a complex but simple manner.
This is a Scottish story rich in the tradition of our storytelling. One of the joys of the Fringe is seeing children’s theatre that is normally tucked away in school halls or where the weans are held captive in a gym hall for a morning and we don’t make the effort to review them. Licketyspit are quite a master/mistress of this style of children’s theatre and many a company who wish to work with children should study their methodology to understand its done.
We have the battle between good and evil as well as the internal battel between what we want to do and what we ought to do. The easy way out is rejected and off we go to fight the King and the evil he personifies. Molly and the various characters played by both actors are clear and well established though the subtleties both employ when playing them and are a gift to the children.
The use of music and movement throughout engages and entertains in equal measure. The musicians are highly important in this as they are both integral and take part without any issues. They focus our attention on the story and ensure we are going along with it. It is more than just being background or noises to accompany what is happening onstage but they make eye contact, they encourage and keep the wee ones in the plot.
Though at times the little ones get restless in the hour and a quarter, it is not long before they are engaged again and back into the whole story. The costumes are great too and I particularly liked the Giant’s and you got the whole size thing wonderfully well.
The set is also integral to the storyline and it was imaginatively used throughout with that cleverness never more obvious than how they told the tradition as passed from one grandmother to another.
One of the examples of just how skilful this company are, comes with a young lad in the front row. All curls and eyelashes he gets a bit restless now and again. Then he sits on his mother’s knee and watches for a while, then get the chance to shout out and join in – he does with gusto. He is encouraged, engaged and welcomed into the story. The other children get a chance to chip in too but by the end this has become his story as much as one for the rest of us and he settles and is in his own seat by the end. Can you ask for much more? I think not.