A Timetraveller's Guide to Surviving Childhood

This was a hilarious, fun and candy-full show. The self-awareness of the Swan Picnic group is part of the very charm of their performance. The Time Travellers Guide to Surviving Childhood is rough around the edges, and basic in its formula, with smatterings of improv to keep the adults entertained as well.Perhaps it has just been my bad luck, but this was the most popular show I have been to so far this Fringe. In Ryan’s cellar were seats for about 50 people, but the afternoon punters crammed themselves in, sitting on the bar itself, or standing at the back, many adults putting their children on their knees. Now this may in part be because this show is FREE. This label is bound to attract plenty of young families looking for a cheap day out during the credit-crunch. The show is styled like children’s theatre, but has no shortage of Inbetweeners-style banter to keep the grown-ups invested too.One is humbled when kids shows use iPod apps as props, and they all know exactly what is being talked about. Through a specially designed history app, the team bring famous characters from the past into the present to ask them all manner of bizarre questions. The premise is simple, but well formulated; one of the trio finding a new excuse to leave the stage and allow a new illustrious individual to appear every time. Through the course of the production we meet a host of randomly related personalities; Black Beard and Edward VI, to name a couple. I would say that this is the one major flaw of the show: the lack of consistency between the historical people that are summoned. There was no theme to the characters brought forward, and the premise of them all coming through this portal in a poorly interpreted costume choice does lose its lustre after a couple of attempts. The step-up they would have to make if they wanted to take this to a real venue would be to punch out a clever linear plot, and invest in better props, maybe even a bit of set. These minor issues aside, this is highly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

Reviews by Louise Hemfrey

Cluedo

★★★

The End

★★★★

Broken Wing

★★★★

Mah Hunt

★★★★★

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The Blurb

Enter a world of bouncing babies, Dalai Lama and Doctor Who. Two bamboozled idiots teach us how not to grow up in this fast-paced, energetic sketch show. Brilliant and bonkers, Swan Picnic provide a non-stop, laugh a minute romp. Plus free sweets!

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