Little Jokes

‘I see life as basically tragic and futile and the only thing that matters in life is making little jokes,’ wrote Edward Lear, a Victorian best known for his nonsense poetry and limericks. Exploring this interesting connection of the very light and the very dark in Lear’s poetry and life, Chatterbox Productions has created Little Jokes.

The theatrical Nonsense World felt strangely bare and empty

Little Jokes focuses on a sad little boy named Anthony, who disappears into Edward Lear’s Nonsense World to avoid dealing with his own pain and loss. In this make-believe place, he meets the ‘real’ Edward Lear, who shows Anthony how to make use of his powerful imagination. Lear eventually convinces Anthony to allow him to take his place in the real world for a visit whilst Anthony looks after Nonsense World. The adventure teaches both characters some important life lessons on how to deal with pain and disappointment.

There is much to enjoy in this sweet production. An accordion playing in pre-show offers a charming, bygone atmosphere. The stage is set simply with three white sheets hung at the back of the stage and effectively used for shadow theatre and puppetry. The small cast is dressed casually in tights and hooded jumpers, with the exception of Lear, dressed in a tuxedo. The actors work well together and recite Lear’s poetry with enthusiasm. Lear’s interaction with the real, non-Victorian world and its inhabitants also provide many amusing moments.

Unfortunately, however, Lear’s Nonsense World lacks magic. Whilst the play takes the view that imagination can take us anywhere and that what one sees with the eyes doesn’t limit what can be conjured in the mind, the theatrical Nonsense World felt strangely bare and empty. Whereas the real world felt vivid, the sections set in Nonsense World dragged. The play also seemed oddly pitched. With so much talk and exploration of Lear’s very adult disappointments with his life, his plotline often felt too mature for children. Conversely, the language and messages of the story felt a little young for an adult audience.

Nevertheless, Little Jokes is an enjoyable introduction to Lear and his poetry; a pleasant way to start the afternoon. 

Reviews by Jenny Williams

theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Nightpiece Film Festival

★★
Royal Oak

Yeti

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Inevitable

★★★★
Spotlites @ The Merchants' Hall

Case Number

★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Flight of the Lawnchair Man

★★★

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

Location

The Blurb

'I see life as basically tragic and futile and the only thing that matters is making little jokes'. BBC award-winner Seamus Collins brings Edward Lear's much loved nonsense poetry to life in this dark and magical piece of new writing. Teaming up with Belfast's brightest young company Chatterbox Productions for their third Edinburgh Premiere, this dynamic duo bring a national treasure to the stage in a tale of one boy's struggle with loss, loneliness and growing up. 'Cracking new writing' **** (BroadwayBaby.com on The Man Who). 'Visually striking' (IrishTheatreMagazine.ie on Breathing Water by Raymond Scannell).

Most Popular See More

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Anything Goes

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets