The Flanagan Collective bring their own take upon the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their Little Festival of Everything, a collection of shows that explore the possibilities of theatre, writing and music. It’s a festival of, well, everything, where small shows for children are mixed with folk shows and musicals. It is a festival to dream about and be inspired from. Their small and delicate production of William, aimed at the young children within us all (and children themselves for that matter) tells one half of a story that is part of The William Stories, with another show Polly also being played alongside the work.
A young boy called William loves to read and so desperately wants to find a book. He suddenly, and quite surprisingly, finds himself at a bookshop where he can pick any book his heart desires. Through gentle storytelling and audience participation the story unfolds. We travel up trees and through the sky, drift on clouds and speak with magical creatures. There’s some fairy dust and we are encouraged to join in the story and make it our own.
For the most part it is a mini adventure-filled journey that aims to inspire the child within us all. The show does struggle to completely capture the children’s attention and hold them, but where William excels is through the small magical moments that has even the adults up on their feet and blowing fairy dust.
Storytelling is at the heart of William but when addressing such a varied age group and relying upon telling a story with no visual accompaniment, The Flanagan Collective struggle. It’s not that it’s poor work, but it just needs to imagine more and allow our own excitement to escape us – for now, it’s too controlled. The Little Festival of Everything does, however, offer an eclectic mix of shows for everything and hidden amongst this work you’ll be sure to find a gem or two.
*** – 3/5 stars
The Little Festival of Everything is playing throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information on shows see the Flanagan Collective’s website.