Plague, Poo n’ Punishment

Aug 24 2023 | By More

★★★★☆      Heaps of fun

The Lost Close (venue 443): Thurs 3 – Mon 28 Aug 2023
Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Set in an ancient courtroom, Edinburgh Storytellers’ Plague, Poo n’ Punishment is a comedy show filled with stories of Edinburgh’s gory history that is enjoyable for both children and adults.

Just off the Royal Mile, The Prison Room at The Lost Close acts as the perfect venue for this entertaining and educational show. It is intimate, with seating for around 20 people and has a slightly haunted feel – augmented by ghostly sound effects.

Ben Nardone and Natalie Nardone

Ben Nardone and Natalie Nardone act as Judge and Clerk respectively, with the audience playing the role of the jury. The pair introduce a new case of the missing crown jewels and try to discover if the accused is innocent or guilty. Throughout this, they discuss previous cases that they were a part of which stretch back hundreds of years.

The Judge is very forgetful about the crimes and the sentences he awarded but the Clerk is on hand to remind him of exactly what happened. She has a great memory and details the horrifying crimes of gravediggers Burke and Hare among other infamous Scots. She also talks about the sewage situation, hangings and the dreaded plague – unsurprisingly there are plenty of comparisons to coronavirus.

The piece successfully approaches gruesome topics in a light and harmless yet informative way – similar in tone and style to TV’ Horrible Histories. It rolls quickly from one story to the next, cramming lots and, in most cases, a word or a question leads them naturally onto the next story.


Although quite full-on and enthusiastic, Natalie’s Clerk has a loveable quality, which is great at engaging the younger audience members. The difference between her energy and Ben’s much more serious Judge works well and the actors bounce off each other with ease.

The audience are a big part of the show and are encouraged to answer questions, sing catchy songs and even dance along. The two actors’ strong improvisation skills make these moments enjoyable for all involved.

This 45-minute show avoids feeling overly educational as it is filled with laughter, but facts are certainly in abundance and many will leave having learnt something new.

Running time: 45 minutes (no interval)
The Lost Close (The Prison Room), 1A Barrie’s Close, EH1 1RF (Venue 236)
Thursday 3 – Monday 28 August 2023
Daily: 10am and 12 noon.
Tickets and details: Book here.


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