Storyteller Storyteller is quite simply the most brilliant piece of children's theatre ever devised. It's that simple. In fact, it would be fair to say that it is one of the best pieces of farcical, comedic theatre at the Fringe this year. The execution is perfect, and can be consumed by fringe goers at any intellectual level. But it is perfect for overstressed adults.
Let me explain, I've not gone mad (or perhaps I have). This show was designed for mindlessness, it requires no concentration, and allows you to just switch off and just allow yourself to laugh at this pure, textbook, brilliant genius. This, I think is the secret to making a good children's show, one that truly transcends all social, political, racial and logical barriers. "How does it do this?" I hear you cry "Surely no show can do that". Well you're wrong, it can. Through two very simple things. One, physical comedy is funny when done well to anyone. Two, the show has no words (Other than "Sorry Mother"). None. It's like listening to the Minions if they were in any way bearable.
There's no plot to speak of, it's just two men that want to tell a story, find out that there's more than one storyteller and they squabble. Comedy ensues. The use of voice in this piece is as key as the use of body-language and props. Pitman and Bates' comedy is impeccable, with superb comedic timing and expression, to say that anything is wrong with this piece would be criminal.
This show wasn't quite what we were expecting, I must confess: it features two storytellers from two of Story Pocket Theatre's other shows - 'The Arabian Nights' and 'A Pocket Full Of Grimms' - and those shows were fairly wordy, and of course, brilliant. When those two storytellers get together, however, it's comedy physical mayhem and clowning that ensue, and not much in the way of talking whatsoever. In the tradition of this fabulous children's theatre company, it's beautifully done, a funny, accessible and engaging performance which had the adults laughing as loud as the children in the audience. The two performers, Ashley Bates and Luke Pitman, are excellent, using every part of their anatomies, as well as assorted props, to create a compelling and hilarious visual spectacle.
Story Pocket Theatre's Storyteller, Storyteller pits two storytellers against each other in an epic battle of clowning, miming and slapstick comedy. Two storytellers, wearing the same outfits and using the same equipment, encounter one another and begin a funny and wonderfully silly performance, both in cooperation and in competition with each other. This creates a fun and energetic show for children and parents alike.
Storyteller, Storyteller is forty-five minutes of funny and silly clowning and slapstick. Shock and bemusement follows when Storyteller meets Storyteller, and each begins battling the other to try to tell their story. Thus ensues the mad-cap antics of the two characters as they mime and clown around, very rarely actually speaking, communicating only through noises. The loud nonsense noises can be a little much for some audience members but it's a guarantee that children will enjoy the ridiculousness it. The stage and setup could have been more decorated, as it was a little simple and bare, but as the actors hold the attention of the audience this rarely matters. The actors do a fantastic job, using both body language and facial expressions to make clear what otherwise would be incomprehensible.
A real sense of space is established, with the actors bringing their mimed surroundings to life only through their body language. From tightrope walking to underwater play, the performance moves from one setting to the next with well-directed fluidity. Both actors keep up a constant parade of energy, and interact with the audience with charm as they go from one fun set-piece to the next. Using magic tricks and creating many different comic scenarios, the characters take the audience on a fun ride of whacky antics both with and against each other.
Storyteller, Storyteller is forty-five minutes of funny and silly clowning and slapstick. The audience was giggling throughout, especially the kids. The 'story' is fun, the set-pieces are creative and the talented actors are charismatic. A wonderful, enjoyable and simple show for families, especially with younger children.