Genre: Children's Theatre, Clowning.Venue: Pleasance. Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
The Low Down
Climate change is massive and Bees aren’t... Multi award-winning theatre company, ThisEgg, invites you to save the world – one bee at a time. A new comedy for children and adults alike, co-produced by Pleasance.
This is the first piece of children's theatre I've been to this year and the bar has been set incredibly high. The show doesn't feel like it has been written for children, it feels like it could just as easily have been written for adults. The educational information is expertly woven in amongst the humour and there are facts in there that I'd never heard before, meaning this show taught me things I didn't already know about bees, both about what they do and how catastrophic it is going to be if or when we lose them.
All three of the performers are adorable in their own ways. Josie Dale-Jones has a deliciously sadistic edge and the makings of a colourful little dictator, Greta Mitchell feels like she's just walked out of the TV set and into your living room from CBeebies, and Joe Boylan brings delightful clowning to the stage as a giant huggable bee. The dynamic between the three of them is great fun to watch.
The premise of the show is funny, but I don't want to give too much away. It's a simple and effective set up. The way the storyline, characters and bee facts unfold is smooth... Nothing feels shoehorned in. They deal seamlessly with issues like people being scared of bees due to getting stung, by demonstrating how much worse it is for the bee, whose insides are ripped out along with their sting and they also point out that only female bees sting anyway - which I didn't know. Joe is a great clown and his bee interpretation keeps you chortling throughout. If you entered the theatre scared of bees you'll leave feeling like all you want to do is give them a great big cuddle.
It's a simplistic piece without too much set. A flip chart and some party hats are pretty much all they need, but with these few items they create a medley of colourful moments. This show feels fresh and contemporary. Not at all what I had been expecting. There wasn't a hint of condescension or dumbing down, pitched perfectly between adult humour and younger silliness, interlaced with clear useful and pretty worrying information. But it also comes with answers for what can be done to help, which is refreshing. Adult theatre so often poses problems, but then leaves the audience to figure out how to make a difference. This show has an answer for how to help and gives it to you... Quite literally.
There are genuine moments of belly laughter throughout, from both the little ones in the audience and the adults alike. And I'm pretty sure everyone left that theatre a fully fledged signed up member of the Bee Party.