By Susannah Mulvihill
Royalty, flying gnomes, a giraffe and farting. What more could you ask of a Fringe show for the whole family? Based on the best selling book by Robin Mitchell this production bring the true magic of beans to the stage.
As tomboy Princess Pumpalot’s 16th birthday falls on a Tuesday she is awarded the key to the cabinet – a cabinet full of magic beans. Tradition states that to protect the kingdom she must eat the beans: the resulting gas is powerful or smelly enough to defend against any intruders. Played delightfully by Niloo-Far Khan, the Princess gets the audience, young and old, to join in with the farting, and the whole cast burst with energy. Presented in a pantomimic, slapstick style, the humour is brilliantly targeted at the kids, though some of the jokes for the adults miss their mark slightly today. The script has been developed with a local crowd in mind, with references to Arthur’s Seat and an obligatory nod to the tramworks. The characters are well placed, with a highlight being that of Faq, a handy, headless font of knowledge who lightheartedly fills in all the gaps in the story.
It will always be a bit difficult when small children are present to keep everyone engaged throughout, but this production managed it admirably. Simply staged with a pair of thrones set centrally on risers, flanked by tall projection screens displaying illustrations to set the scene, the cast make their entance and exits from all around the auditorium. This, while giving a real sense of inclusion and interactivity, can be a slight hinderance, as parents taking their kids out to the loo can detract from the action and be a bit confusing. This is only a minor niggle though, and entirely dependent on the specific performance. All in all this is a good family show, gently funny and an excellent way to spend a morning at the Fringe.
What the kids say: Hilarious! I loved it.