Edinburgh Fringe 2016
“Welcome to Ginger Creek, where curious characters and perplexing events are the norm. Join Hank O’Hara and Sally Silver Gunz as they run from the law, stumble over clues and suffer from amnesia. Their lives depend on you as they attempt to solve a murder and prove their innocence.”
Initially I thought this cleverly conceived hour of interactive mystery-solving would fly over the heads of some of the very young members of the audience. Not so. It can be disconcerting to see five or six year-olds talking like young adults but this audience were way ahead of many of the parents as we witnessed the unfolding story of a crime we needed to solve together.
I won’t add any spoilers. This a character comedy, improvised responses to the audience reactions and questions as we collect clues and are shown episodes of a Western-style tale, a whodunnit, with plenty of verbal slapstick. Who do we believe? What was the motive? What clues are key?
Characters were well delineated by the two performers but some of the language was a bit too grown-up for the kids, not in the narrative, but in some of the dialogue. Also occasionally accents made a few lines here or there harder to follow. But overall this is a disciplined show, well designed, and wonderfully minimal. The setting of a motel is realised well, not through set, but through physical theatre and plenty of accessible humour.
We are fed bits of the story and there are reasons to believe and reasons to mistrust all of the characters. Finally all is revealed and we find out if we got it right!
This is a thoroughly engaging show, a bit different, at best when it’s a mix of well performed story and well facilitated interaction. It’s well worth taking your kids to and ensuring they won’t be passive for an hour. They’ll lean forwards, interested in the show, and get into it! No one is humiliated or forced to do anything they don’t want to and both performers establish an easy rapport with their audience.
It must be difficult to create a mystery and stay on top of it when we are constantly involved as an audience. It requires self-assurance and trust between performers. There’s plenty of that on show. Only occasionally does the complexity slip into confusion and that reduces the reaction from the young detectives in the audience.
Overall this is well worth seeing. A quality story, genuinely interesting, funny, and with plenty to draw us all in. Recommended.