Skip to content


Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2010
Published on Saturday, 28 August 2010

3.5 stars

The Zoo (venue website)
6 - 30 Aug, 1:00pm (2:10pm)
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

Aberglas is a modern fairy tale, where two young girls travel to a world of fantasy featuring monsters, knights and magicians, in search of a collection of books which will contain the best stories ever.  But not everything is as it seems in the world of Aberglas.

The central cast of Olivia Jewson and Laura Cobban as sisters Anna and Eleanor, along with Claire Carrie as Lady Gwen all perform admirably.  In one of the first of several devices to undercut the expectations of the genre, Gwen is a knight 'in spite of being a lady and not having a horse anymore', and she has a number of good comic lines (watch out for her complaining that a capricious and beautiful elf is too thin).  They are given excellent back up from Magnus Holvold and Torya Winters, who flit between playing supporting characters and operating the puppets.

Those hand-made puppets are a striking and distinctive feature of Aberglas.  The blue man in particular took me by surprise earlier in the Fringe when I saw him walking down Pleasance, and he is suitably menacing when he first appears in the show, chained to a handsome Prince for Lady Gwen to rescue - subverting genre expectations again.  Happily, it turns out that Gwen actually rescued the blue man from the evil Prince, and so he returns to save the day at the last.  He seemed to list slightly, and was unable to look straight ahead, but the Fringe takes its toll on all performers, I suppose.

The flying fish was very well designed but a little underwhelming for the chief menace of the story resolution.  I personally found the talking squirrels a little too much, but they went down better with the children in the audience.  I also felt that several sequences were a little heavy on exposition for its own sake and could have been improved with a little more action to help dynamically progress the story.

Writer and director Helene Cloete and her young new cast can nonetheless be pleased with a pleasant storytelling experience that younger children can really get invested in, which also includes some deft touches of humour which poke affectionately at fairy tales of days past.

<< Rich Fulcher - An Evening...   The Emperor's Quest >>


These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2013

Coming to the Fringe this year?  We can help you make the most of your time.  Learn about Edinburgh's summer Festivals and plan your visit around the city's major events. 

Find out more >>