Edinburgh Fringe FestivalReviewsTheatre

REVIEW: Arthur J Peabody | Amanda Dempsey-Laughlin

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | Fringe Player | Get Tickets

A young girl admires a bird perched on her window wondering what his story might be… until he begins to talk.

Join legendary bird Arthur J Peabody as he tells the tales of his adventures in the circus, his flights around the world and just how he ended up at this small farmhouse in Canada.

Clearly created from zoom with the use of green screen and multiscreen to recreate locations from Arthur’s travels it worked well with simple animation techniques used to explain more elaborate plot points.

The show is led by talking bird Arthur, confidently played by Arthur Baxter wearing a phenomenally, elaborate magpie costume designed by Laura Vradenburg.

Something has to be said about the bravery and commitment of a man in his home office set up for a hard day’s work dressed as a bird! In the battle to create productions during covid, I defy anyone not to picture this and smile!

An original children’s play told simply but effectively.

The one thing I would consider is lowering the age range to allow for families to watch all together. It is more suited for the 4-8 age group.

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • It doesn’t matter where you or your team are in the world, using basic, mainstream technology you can bring them together completely online to tell a story together. Long may these types of performances continue post the pandemic.
  • Amanda Dempsey-Laughlin uses classic storytelling techniques to tailor this show for family viewing. If you’re creating shows for children keep in mind the rule of three, whether that be three separate stories in one (like we see here) or the importance of a beginning, middle and end.
  • If ever in doubt, stick in a minute of a dancing bird at the end! Hilarious! Including outtakes can or a credit sequence reminds audiences they are watching theatre and make them feel as though they’re a bigger part of the action.
  • This show used extras to add depth to certain scenes, for example, a sleeping passenger in the back of a train carriage waking up at various shocks in the dialogue. I loved this! Such a nice touch and a great way to evoke in the viewer how it may be performed in a theatre in the future.
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