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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

How to Become Ridiculously Well-Read

Cops and Robbers Theatre

Genre: Music, Theatre

Venue: Greenside at Nicolson Square


Low Down

A comical musical about books that burns much deeper.



Leo is six and wants to know what you had for breakfast…….. The school library is his safe place with the books providing the necessary shelter from the darkness in his life. We travel with Leo as he comes up against many obstacles including demons! All whilst trying to read every single book in the library by midnight. Will he do it?  Armed only with a vast array of musical instruments, food he has foraged and the odd helping hand from the audience Leo engages a small but willing audience over a very enjoyable 50 minutes.

Together Leo Kitay and Sam Plumb have crafted a fun and very unpredictable show of energetic twists and turns. He may only be ‘six’ but Leo has a remarkable talent for musical instruments, blending prose with parody and history with heroism.

With such a small space inside the Fern Studio it seemed like the audience participation was a little strained at times, even sat on the back row I felt like he was very much on top of the audience. However, after a few awkward moments the later collaborative musical piece brought everyone back together with joyous giggles and an abundance of silly noises. Charming throughout Leo shows us his magical world from the beginning of everything through texts that are familiar and those not too much and all through the medium of song.

This was not the show I thought I was going to see and actually I would have liked there to be more songs and more educational book references throughout rather than extended repeated jokes to cover instrument changes. I was made to feel incredibly aware of the limitations of the space with clunky segways that took away from the magic of the piece. The childlike characterisation of Leo was at times as grating as it was moving. I would also have liked more of a resolution with the Mum character, maybe in the form of a song? But maybe that’s too much to hope for…

I am excited to see what’s next for this theatre company given access to a larger venue and a larger audience as they are certainly brimming with talent.