Spotlites at the Fringe specialises in interactive children’s shows for a variety of age groups. Underneath the advertising posters are four words guaranteeing that pester-power will ensure packed houses: ‘kids come onstage throughout!’.
As predicted, at this performance of Curse of Pharaoh’s Tomb aimed at 5-12 year olds, there were no empty seats and no shortage of little people desperate to join in. Director and writer, Rachel Thomson-King, gave an introduction explaining the rules of how to get noticed: mad, two-hand-waving is acceptable and encouraged; shouting out is not; hands down once you’ve had a turn. With participation etiquette established, it was on with the show.
The story follows Artie Flinders – a serious-archaeologist-meets-Indiana-Jones character – as he struggles to decipher codes, uncovers Egyptian tombs and wrestles with evil forces on the way. Children were invited on stage to learn to use cloth whips and foam swords, dress as mummys and send Morse Code signals.
Despite the earlier warning, there was also some sanctioned shouting out participation - and an awful lot of props. At different times, a sheet of hieroglyphs, a whip, a sling and some stones was handed to every child in the audience to enable them to join in the action. While this was eventually quite fun for those involved, more time was taken handing out the props than time allowed to play with them, which became pretty tedious for those of us merely watching the proceedings.
Despite this the cast of three, each playing multiple parts, kept the momentum and the plot moving along at a good pace. The set was simple but extremely effective and the use of dry ice and the Indiana Jones action music combined to create just the right atmosphere.
Another of Spotlites’ oft-quoted tag-lines is, ‘adults must be accompanied by a child’ and while that reveals the laudable sentiment of their child-focused entertainment, it is also true that the adult enjoyment is derived from watching the kids having fun – which I guess is what, for most of us, the summer holidays are really all about.
Runs until 25 Aug (not 19-23), 1.30pm
£7 (£6) (£24 family)