The Wild Man of Orford

If you give a quick flick through the Fringe programme, it will be fairly obvious that puppetry is on the rise in the theatre section this year. The Wild Man of Orford fits perfectly into the medium. It is a pleasant family-friendly story that employs puppetry, projected animation and character comedy to tell the plight of a Merman who gets captured by some unassuming fishermen.

The five performers convey the story with passionate monologues and engaging storytelling.

The story is similar to that of The Little Mermaid, except without the fantasy elements. The fantastical has been replaced by folk music, storytelling and pantomime, which makes this production enjoyable, but lacking some of the magic to make the story feel like a thoroughly engaging fairytale. Instead of fantasy, the audience is exposed to over-the-top character comedy that comes across a bit overdone and obvious, even for a family-orientated show. Having said this, the five performers at Rust and Stardust Productions do their best to embody the characters and convey the story with passionate monologues and engaging storytelling.

The use of animation in the show is a definite strong point. On occasions we witness paper cutout and shadow puppetry animation projected onto a screen towards the back of the performance space. This helps set the scene and showcase the stormy and tranquil seas of Orford. This element is not, however, used anywhere near enough, and the performance feels less appealing when the animation is absent.

The Wild Man of Orford is part of the ‘Sea of Stories’ season at Sweet Grassmarket. The concept of presenting stories about the sea is an interesting one. It may not have done enough to draw the audience into its stormy waters, but it is worth a watch if you like your theatre with a touch of puppetry and folk music.

Reviews by Steven Fraser

Traverse Theatre

The Garden

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Am I Dead Yet?

★★★★
C venues - C

Mwathirika

★★★
Sweet Grassmarket

The Wild Man of Orford

★★★
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L'Enfant qui...

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

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★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Orford, the Suffolk coast, 1167. A fisherman hauls up a mysterious catch: a scaly, glistening creature from the depths of the sea. Man or monster? Is the wild man barbaric or simply free of the constraints of society? A tale from English folklore, The Wild Man of Orford is a story of freedom, of kindness, and of the strange wild song of the sea. Beautiful and improbable, Rust and Stardust’s production features an exciting combination of handmade puppets, live theatre and music, and projected animations. Part of the Sea of Stories season at Sweet Venues.