As a parent looking for something exciting, interesting and a bit fun to do with their 5+ year-old on a Saturday morning - and for under a tenner - it really doesn’t get any better than Andy Cannon’s Saturday Stories at the Traverse Theatre.
As always, the stories were interactive, topical and laugh-out-loud funny. The last time Saturday Stories had been on it was November and so he quickly filled in the gaps – had we had a good Christmas, New Year, Burn’s Night – and neatly round to Valentine’s Day, less than two weeks ago and the reason that today we were treated to romantic stories. In case the boys in the audience thought ‘yuk’, don’t worry, we were swiftly reassured that all the best love stories involved lots of fighting!
Interspersed with personal anecdotes resulting in hilarity, we were treated to two epic love stories: The Love of Three Oranges and Walter Scott’s Lochinvar.
The Love of Three Oranges, originally an Italian play written in the late 18th century and based on a fairy tale, sees a Prince first dreaming of his perfect woman and then in true medieval style, setting out on a quest to find her. Although there was no fighting in this tale, those too tough for love had witches, a 3-headed ferocious dog and an ogre to reward their patience through the soppy bits.
We were then introduced to Walter Scott and I learnt some new and interesting facts about Scottish culture and history while holding my sides laughing.
Today he told the story of Lochinvar, set 500 yrs ago in the Borders. Lochinvar, who was tall, handsome, strong, brave – you get the picture – while out riding on his trusty steed Charger one day, accidentally crosses the border into England and falls in love with Ellen of Netherby Hall. International marriages are forbidden and her furious father chases Lochinvar away, telling the lovers that Ellen will marry Musgrave of Musgrave Hall – ‘a laggard in love and a dastard in war’.
Children were invited on to the stage to enact the final scene of the poem in which Lochinvar appears at the wedding and after a drink and a dance flies off with Ellen on Charger’s back to live happily ever after, with the outraged families chasing after to no avail. The whole family can’t help but get involved in such thrilling performances and I truly can’t wait for the last Saturday in March when I can go to watch him again - and the children feel exactly the same!
Andy Cannon is at The Traverse again on 26 March