The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland return to the Fringe with an outstanding 50 minute musical from the absorbing pens of Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie.
Forest Boy is based on a true story of a boy who, on 2 September 2011, appeared in Berlin claiming to have lived in the forest for the past five years. It is a tale of lies, growing up and imagination. It’s also an exploration of public perception and of the lengths a person will go to in order to forget their past.
Working the small space of the Bosco to its full potential, the six strong cast deliver a masterclass in new musical theatre writing. Amanda Gaughan’s taut direction allows the audience to be swept along as the cast perform, with gusto, the involving storyline.
Tom Mackley performs the role of Forest boy with a grace far older than his years and makes you believe in him from the moment the lights dim. He shows courage as he runs the full gamut of human emotions in the space of 50 minutes.
What makes for the show’s best moments is when there is a live string quartet augmented by acoustic guitar and piano threaded seamlessly into the music. The lush melodies and notes of a compelling score steal out across the audience as the music blends with the stunning vocals of the company in wonderful 4 and 5 part harmonies. The production is further helped by its choice of venue as the wind blowing through the timbers of the Bosco tent in George Square really adds to what is an emotional and engrossing experience.
The only negative of the whole production is at times it can feel slightly over paced and the audience never really get an opportunity to absorb what they have just seen.
With excellent writing and a talent pool this good is easy to see that the future of Scottish and indeed British Musical theatre is in safe hands. Forest boy promises to be one of the outstanding achievements of the fringe this year. For a show with real heart and the chance to see the best of the next generation then Forest Boy is simply unmissable.