Gobland For The Goblins!

Aug 15 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆    Playful

Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152): Sat 5 – Sat 26 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Billed as a fantasy video game for older children and their families, writer-director James Beagon and Aulos Productions’ latest show sees them switch genres yet again. Gobland For The Goblins! is an interactive show with some very pleasing elements.

Drawing on computer games, role-playing-games and old-fashioned ‘choose your own adventure’ books, the play features the story of a quest for parts of a magical object that will help the Goblins achieve control over their own country, ending conflict with various other monsters.

John Spilsbury, Thomas Mugglestone, Camilla McMoody, Jenny Quinn, Ellie MacQueen, Liam Grant Spooner and Sophie Harris. Pic: Aliza Hoover (Ummatiddle)

At various points, decisions are made influencing events by players selected from the audience. It is difficult to know how interactive the show really is. There is a definite suspicion that the choices made largely determine the order of events and minor details of how they are played out rather than the big picture.

It would be difficult to be sure without seeing the show several times – something that can be achieved thanks to the clever offer of half-price admission for returning audience members, on production of a ticket stub.

There is a lack of spark in the relationship between the cast and audience. A little more enthusiasm in eliciting ideas from children (and a lot more willingness to ignore puerile suggestions from adults) would be of benefit.

childlike naturalism

That said, Beagon’s storyline – if too involved and talk-heavy – is engaging enough, and charmingly played. Camilla Makhmudova, as central character Spot, has a childlike naturalism that makes her ideal for the role. Sophie Harris has a definite bite as Grumble, while Jenny Quinn is ideal as the loyal sidekick Spark.

John Spilsbury’s Game Announcer is suitably authoritative, if perhaps a little forbidding for younger audience members. Thomas Mugglestone, Ellie MacQueen and Liam Spooner give the various goblins definition, and the whole cast cope admirably with the twists and turns forced on them.

Eleaonore Dombre’s projections make good use of some artwork that has the same homespun attractiveness as the costumes, but is not always in synch with what is on stage. When the action sequences do come, Rachel Bussom’s fight choreography is very impressive.

The 7+ recommendation is spot on, not because of any dubious content but because younger children might find their attention wandering. It is suitable for older people too, not least for a gentle but firm message of responsibility, togetherness and internationalism that would thoroughly scunner Johnson and Gove. Which has to be a recommendation in itself.

Running time 1 hour 5 minutes (no interval)
Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152),41 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EL
Saturday 5 – Saturday 26 August 2017
Daily (not Sun) at 11.40 am
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/gobland-for-the-goblins
Company website: https://aulosproductions.com
Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aulosproductions/


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