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Published on Wednesday, 24 August 2011

3 stars

C Venues - C eca (venue website)
3-29 Aug, 11:30am-12:25pm
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

The Flanagan Collective was set up by Alexander Wright, of Belt Up Theatre fame, and William is one of two productions they are staging at the Fringe this year.  It is, I think, a charming story for children.

I say 'I think' because – this being the last week of the Fringe when Edinburgh schools are back in – there were no children present at the show I saw.  I certainly found it charming, at least.  This one-man performance tells the story of the constellations – familiar ones, such as Orion and Ursa Major, and unfamiliar too, such as William and Polly.

They are the key figures in the modern mythology spun in William.  The absence of youngsters didn't stop the interactive storytelling elements, and the decidedly middle-aged audience had a great time drawing and colouring in – the paper stars that make up the constellation shapes on the floor are handed out to record important characters and locations in the narrative.

It took some coaxing to get the crowd to respond to child-friendly questions such as 'what colour was the book?' or 'what were the buildings made of' but he got there (the buildings were made of cheese in our iteration, for the record).

The story, once it got going, was remarkably detailed and intricate – perhaps too much so, as I struggled to make sense of it at points.  Nonetheless, it is an enthralling performance that can gloss over plot complexities by force of will.

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