Award-winning theatre company Owle Schreame performs a series of very droll ‘drolls’: short, illegal comedies from the 17th century. There are around 30 texts they hope to get through over the course of the festival, and they are the first group to perform some of these rare nuggets of theatrical history in almost 400 years.
They were truly fringe pieces of theatre hundreds of years ago, and it seems fitting now that these drolls feel utterly at home at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Forgotten lines and actors restarting scenes, having to clear up onstage mid-performance to avoid being penalty-charged by the venue, and one of the actors acknowledging his mum in the audience are made moments of hilarity. DROLL’s rough-around-the-edges style is its charm. The actors fully embrace a no-holds-barred approach to performance, unafraid to get their hands (and faces!) dirty. Artistic Director Brice Stratford’s commitment to exaggerated voices and movement, in the titular role, breathes vigorous life into what have lain for centuries as essentially old and dead texts. Now it seems they were only dormant. The company’s passion for reviving what are actually fascinating pieces of dramatic history, as well as being silly and coarse, ensures these short play pack a mighty punch.
They were truly fringe pieces of theatre hundreds of years ago, and it seems fitting now that these drolls feel utterly at home at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Although the circumstances of their performance are less perilous now, in 2017, ‘It’s Fringe, anything could happen!’