City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Doubtful Guest Review

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 22 August 2009

Fringe 2009: The Doubtful Guest
Show details
Traverse Theatre
Hoipolloi and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with English Touring Theatre
Running time: 
Shon Dale-Jones (writer and director), Stefanie Muller (designer), Alexander Rudd (composer), Peter Harrison (lighting designer)
Cassie Friend, Ben Frimston, Stefanie Muller, Andrew Pembrooke, Trond-Erik Vassdal

Hoipolloi's production is based on the American author and illustrator Edward Gorey's book for children The Doubtful Guest.  A fantastical, slightly sinister tale about a creature who invades and ultimately disrupts the ancestral home of the Edwardian Bishop family, this theatrical adaptation is enormously entertaining.

The show begins with great hilarity as one of the characters, the son-in-law Herbert, comes into the auditorium and starts to disturb members of the audience by climbing over seats before he gets back to the stage.  We are then introduced to the five eccentric members of the Bishop family who start to relate their tale of how their lives were disrupted by the arrival of this creature.  Using imaginative, flexible props - including paintings hung from the ceiling - it is surreal, physical theatre.  And this type of live theatre is such a special form of interaction with the audience and the show was packed with children and adolescents who were laughing their heads off in places.  Whacky, family entertainment.

Times: til 29 August, various times (see Fringe Programme for details)

Read Bill Dunlop's review of The Doubtful Guest