Arabian Nights, Gilded Balloon, Festival Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Story Pocket Theatre in association with Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Julia Black and Adam Forde (directors), David Perkins (music), Alison Beattie (producer), Francine Huin-Wah (set and costume design), Sarah Sage (lighting design)
William Forde, Yasmin Goodwin and Luke Pitman
Running time

The ancient tales of the Arabian Nights are brought to vibrant comic life by the brilliant trio that is Story Pocket Theatre.

A fantastic tale in itself is that of the clever narrator Scheherazade, the young Persian wife who faces execution at the hands of her ruthless and powerful husband Shahryar so he can marry his next wife. To defer her death, she deftly weaves him a series of life saving cliffhangers over 1001 nights. From this incredible array two well-known tales, Aladdin and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and two not so well known, The Little Beggar and The Fisherman’s Genie, are re-told in grin inducing style.

From the get go, Luke Pitman, with his elastic face skelly-eyed exuberance and masterful morphing clowning, has the audience on board, involving and engaging to great delight. But that’s just the warm up! Yasmin Goodwin manages to remain elegant and gorgeous no matter what unpleasant character she plays and William Forde goes through a gamut of characters including a fabulous a hip swishing genie

Through soft music, dance, puppetry, clowning mime, and songs worthy of Lionel Bart this is a beautifully put together hour of sheer pleasure from this hard working, committed threesome who manage to make even a gruesome murder seem funny.

The inventive rather lovely set is a source of wonder as the giant white petal shapes become a cave, a palace, a boat. Add to this their smart use of lighting and simple but kind of perfect white costumes you have ticked every box worth ticking.

This is interactive storytelling at its very best!

8-23 August (not 18) at 11.15am