A retelling of ten old tales, such as the story of Devil’s Dyke and why Rugby Union team Hartlepool Rovers are known as the Monkeyhangers, this hour long show invites the audience to share in the (varying degrees) of magic the legends of England have to offer. Whilst each tale was meant to be standalone, several seemed to share similar plots, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other.
the most entertaining moments will differ with each performance, a highlight of this one being when an audience participant became stuck in the box they were sitting in.
Mr. D (Adrian Jameson) moved the piece along using a detailed knowledge of the stories but needed further characterisation to allow the audience to believe he was a mysterious storyteller, as opposed to simply speaking as himself.
Audience participation was not so much encouraged as required for the show to work and it brought in plenty of laughs. This works to the piece’s advantage, making it re-watchable as the most entertaining moments will differ with each performance, a highlight of this one being when an audience participant became stuck in the box they were sitting in. However a key problem is that these moments were often more memorable than the stories themselves. When an audience member did not volunteer, Mr. D’s assistant (Sascha Cooper) would step in, using overacted facial expressions to give performances as various characters and animals to help provide an informative and amusing visualisation of each tale to the audience.
During these tales the quality of props used on stage was excellent, often comically contrasting with the darker content of the stories. However, quantity was sadly lacking and many more props were needed if Mr D’s aim was to create a full picture of what was going on. There was a little disorganisation between stories regarding which props were needed next, although this somewhat added to the humour and gave the audience time to let the stories sink in.
All in all, Mr D's Tales of Myths and Legends never managed to live up to the billing it gave itself: the mask and props that stood out to me in the promotional image were only used once in the piece itself, and the impression that it would truly be an immersive trip back in time was sadly incorrect. There were moments of genuine laughter and engagement but the show would have been better suited to a larger audience as its finest moments would have been enhanced with more participants.
Whilst being mildly funny and interesting, this show is ultimately forgettable. With a better range of stories and characters it could become a decent night out for groups of friends as it ultimately provides simple entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously.