“Has anyone been on an adventure today?” asked Veronica Hare as she welcomed the audience into the magical space for William, a one-person storytelling performance combined with interactive elements. Once the audience was settled, Hare began the tale of the very first story, which was created before impossible was possible. This introduction to stories set the stage for the tale of William himself, an enthralling tale of one boy’s passion for books and the adventure this leads him on.
Hare is a stunningly engaging performer and her storytelling skills are marvellous. With her very first question she managed to fully engage the audience, which is no mean feat for a one-person show aimed at children. The setting is lovely, filled with paraphernalia to stimulate the imagination and to create a make-believe world.
The interactive element of the show came from audience suggestions and inspirations throughout. In response to questions from Hare, the audience responded with suggestions which helped to set the scene and occasionally even helped drive the plot. While interaction is an almost vital part of children’s theatre, it was almost overdone at points. Though it’s wonderful letting the audience join in and help drive the story, it became slightly tedious. At times, it seemed as though Hare was waiting for a specific answer to drive the narrative and would keep on asking until she got it.
However, though the story was enchantingly told, it was at times confusing. Moments of true beauty shone through but occasionally got lost when the introductory story collides with William's story. The plot became somewhat unclear and occasionally audience suggestions seemed to veer the story too far off its course.
William is part of LittleFest at the Fringe this year and is a companion piece with Polly. William, and Polly too I am sure, is an enchanting adventure of the imagination which every child should embark on.