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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Plague, Poo n Punishment

Natalie Nardone, Ben Nardone, Edinburgh Storyteller

Genre: Children's Theatre, Comedy, Historical

Venue: The Lost Close


Low Down

We are greeted by a sleeping judge, who eventually is awoken by his cleaner, who has to double as clerk of court for the day. And the case before him, is the theft of the Scottish Crown Jewels. Through interactive song, drama between the two characters and the gruesome nature of the stories – Walter Stewart’s head, Burke and Hare, Deacon Brodie and Abraham Severin amongst them – we are taken on a flight of history with a goat of the court and two ghostly apparitions disappearing out of our sight.


This was cracking. For 45 minutes it was pitched at just the right level for the kids in our midst, with singing, actions in those songs, stories of terrible things which happened, a couple of fair dighted folk unable to run a menage but in charge of justice and interaction between the two of them which really worked incredibly well. They also worked the crowd well and when there was a need for some audience interaction it included not just the kids but getting the pesky adults up to show the kids that nobody is safe! I also loved the haud yer hauns shout which nodded to our  cultural heritage.

The script allows for the usurping of things by the wee ones amongst us – both actors are well versed in weaving the interruptions in. Constantly we were taken back to something which happened a few minutes before hand to get another laugh, draw the children back in or just make it feel engaging and involving. The conceit of the ghost turning out to be the Goat of the Court was hilarious and silly enough to make the time spent for the kids to be more enjoyable.

The range of material – as in the stories – were great and included the Great Fire of Edinburgh from where the solution to our mystery was to be found. Up till then one of the children was to be put on trial even though there were not the ev –i-dence.

Given that we were in a very small room there was plenty of scope for spooky sounds – much used – and costume as well as props were spot on and what was needed – especially the second hand.

This showed exactly why history should be done through interactive theatre – it was fun, great learning material and just made it all seem so accessible. I also, though I am not a native of Edinburgh found a lot out – found out about the Great Fire of Edinburgh twice over this Fringe – so there is plenty to keep the adults entertained and questioning too.

But a word of caution. The lost close is not that easy to find. Persevere and near the time when tit is due to start, look for a certain man with a placard out in or near Parliament Square, in a corner between a statue and a coffee shop. Your journey will begin there and the extra effort or patience required shall be very much rewarded!