Bringing a show to the Fringe is a daunting prospect even for established theatre companies. For Lambrook Prep School to bring not one but three shows to Edinburgh with performers as young as ten is therefore nothing short of extraordinary.
The boys relish the experience of performing. Who can blame them? Lambrook have given them a fantastic opportunity and their time at Edinburgh will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Understandably with such a young cast, the experience is decidedly mixed. Most approach it with confidence and fun; they’re clearly having a great time as they play exaggerated 1950s versions of themselves. A few are more nervous and some lines are either lost or missed but this is understandable and as the run progresses the performances will undoubtedly become more confident. Mainly though, the boys relish the experience of performing. Who can blame them? Lambrook have given them a fantastic opportunity and their time at Edinburgh will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
It’s a shame, then, that the play that they’ve been given is so uninspired. Even for a family show, the hauntings lack any kind of fear factor and the jokes inexplicably take the form of satirical barbs at, for example, George Osborne and Ofsted. Not only are they out of place but they’re too obvious for any parents in the audience to enjoy and too mature for their children. The cast don’t care about any of this of course, they’re just happy to be there and so, obviously, are their families who make up the vast bulk of the audience.
However, any neutral families out there will be much better served by other shows that are enchanting and magical for all. None of this is meant to denigrate the efforts of the boys, who should keep enjoying their Edinburgh experience. For the casual punter though, this is not a show that can be recommended.