FRINGE REVIEW – Macastory, Champion of Champions!

*****

By Debbie Cannon

An hour of heroic storytelling is on offer in Macastory’s Champion of Champions!

We’re greeted by our two hosts, garbed in less than glamorous sports gear, as we enter. The two performers, Fergus McNicol and Ron Fairweather, treat us to a bit of banter and a song which features plenty of audience participation of the kind that younger kids love and older ones sometimes pretend not to. The real substance of the show is the storytelling which follows, however. Volunteers are plucked from the crowd to assist with the depiction of three mythological heroes.

Both performers are good storytellers, engaging the audience well. More audience participation, and some really beautiful and striking use of silhouettes against a light screen in the set assist in shifting the tales effortlessly between comedy and drama. At times it would have been nice to hear more use of music and sound-effects, but as it was the younger audience members, and many of their parents, seemed hooked, while the children playing the heroes had a whale of a time.

The performance we saw was staged at the front of an auditorium, around a fold-up set which looked a little worn. It served by turns as backdrop, a screen to allow a change of costume, and a light screen for the shadow-puppetry. It was fronted with an image of a modern crowd viewing the Olympics, but this proved just to be a topical hook for the show, which quickly went its own way.

The two performers had a real rapport with the children in the audience, and they deliver the show with energy and lovely comic timing. Ron Fairweather in particular is a passionate and captivating storyteller. Our audience all left with smiles on their faces.

An hour spent with Macastory is time well spent, particularly for younger children and those who relish live family entertainment and a chance to participate. This show has a short run at the Fringe, but it’s well worth keeping an eye open for it appearing elsewhere.

Champion of Champions ran until 10 August at the National Museum of Scotland at 14:00 (15:00)

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