Edinburgh Fringe 2019
We have pirates heading to the isle, we have brothers running home, the isle gets trashed, the younger brother who was knocked out starts a vengeance mission with a baby he finds. They go in search and vengeance for the pirates and our travels take in Inns, assassinations, bounty hunters, dragons, princesses as damsels in distress and a breath-taking performance from our guide, narrator, pirate king and storytelling genius that is Lewis Docherty.
This is exceptional. To play all the parts, provide all the sound effects and keep us all in the seats for that hour was just one of the best theatrical experiences I have had for some time. Docherty inhabits the story, not just the characters or the dragon, but the story.
From the beginning where he is cutting up an apple to the end where the dragon is fought, this is a white knuckle ride of narrative that keeps us there; JUST THERE!
His physicality is truly awe inspiring as he takes shapes and throws them in ways that makes you feel you have bene in the company of an exceptional piece of theatre; because you have.
As he provides all the sounds and we get a complex number of characters from Edward the Old and his father and the various pirates, to Crispen the lispen to Youfur and Boar it skips along at pace.
The set pieces including the storm are masterful and the effect this has is to draw in our minds the visual element that is not in front of us. The dragon may only be two lights but having set up earlier in the story, how you cut a body in two – without a body onstage to show you – it is brought back here and used to show how this might be done to other figures. It is that series of complex and demanding set ups that are realised as the piece goes on that makes this a theatrical treat.
You are initially unaware that the way in which this has been directed is to layer your experience until you are sitting afterwards and can spot how they set you up to accept A only for is to slot into part B later.
I have run ragged of superlatives for this but a late night slot, towards the end of the run and it never flags, the pauses are kept, the definition neatly organised, the sounds all in the right place and the audience in the palm of your hand. Black t shirt, trousers, a chair and a theatre. All you need and once the audience is in, the magic begins.
Even when the quest became a little complex or four characters had each other by the throat, you still had sufficient definition to catch on.
This was quite simply astonishing, a tour de force, how good storytelling needs someone who knows how to tell it and not make it more than the sum of the parts he has to offer.