Esio Trot
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 9th Aug 2013
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Often high marks are awarded to those companies who create a new world in the theatre through their use of advanced set, puppetry, props or movement so it is good to sometimes be reminded that bells and whistles are not necessarily the only things that make for a truly special show. The set for Esio Trot is little more than a trunk and a washing line. The props are little more than a couple of sketch pads, the puppets a bag of tennis balls. But the people are superb.

Jack Mosedale narrates the show as the acerbic Alfie the Tortoise, a wonderfully vinegary presence, keeping proceedings cracking along whilst successfully engaging the children and giving them their chance to join in. He manages to speak to these smaller members of the audience on their level without ever seeming patronising and his ability to draw out the shyest children is a joy to behold.

The show’s two main protagonists - Mr Hoppy and Ms Silver - are played with charm by Ben Pope and Helen Charman. His amiable weirdness gives him the feel of a living Quentin Blake character and her beautiful rhythm and diction allowing the dialogue to show its true comedy value.

Special plaudits, though, have to go to Dominic Biddle as Humphrey. Though playing only a minor character, his relentless energy and gift for physical comedy are what tie the show together, providing moments that will have both grown-ups and children laughing.

What makes this show a real must-see for parents is that they too will genuinely enjoy it. Except for a prolonged ‘pu’ section aimed squarely at the kids, the rest of the show is genuinely funny for both ages, and not just ‘funny-for-a-kids-show’. The company have managed to successfully tap the vein of slightly dark comedy which runs throughout all Roald Dahl stories and work in a knowing humour for the parents which won’t disrupt the experience for kids.

Esio Trot is a testament to what can be accomplished with a little originality and the will to do something excellent. At 10.30 it’s the ideal way to start a Fringe day on the best foot. A small show with a colossal heart.

Reviews by Tom King

Underbelly, Cowgate

Lucy Farrett: Lois

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

She Sells Sea Shells

★★★★
Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square / Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

From Cambridge University comes this ‘brilliant new stage production’ **** (Varsity). Roald Dahl’s classic story will delight all ages with its tale of love and celery, told through the eyes of Alfie the tortoise. ‘Absolutely charming (CambridgeStudent.ac.uk).

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

My Fair Lady

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets