Wide-eyed, wide-mouthed, and completely in awe, a child no more than seven years old watches in amazement as a grown man in a skin-tight bee costume tells the angst-ridden story of losing the flower he pollinates. This is Me and My Bee, the latest outing from This Egg, whose Goggles was a hit at last year’s fringe. The child in question was amongst many kids in the audience, cast under the spell of the company and their joyful, adorable show about saving the bees. Me and My Bee certainly has a buzz about it this Fringe, and it’s not difficult to see why.
The premise is fairly simple: This Egg are setting up a political party to save the bees (in order to save the world), but it’s disguised as a party party disguised as a show. Cue party hats, party games, party songs – and even party bags. It’s got a glittery, neon, aesthetic that grabs both child and adult from the off, and makes for a perfectly-formed informative hour.
At the heart of the show are performances by Josie Dale-Jones, the sharp-witted party leader, Greta Mitchell, the slightly hopeless but endearing foreign secretary, and Joe Boylan as the eponymous bee. Each performer is a strikingly individual component of an impressive show, making their audience feel welcomed and important in their own personal – and often hilarious – ways.
The show conveys its message without being preachy. Or, rather, it’s completely preachy, but takes the mickey out of its preachy-ness so much that its message feels bite-sized and easy to digest. This Egg do far more than just tell us facts – they make them interactive, allowing us to be a part of information as we learn it.
The company artfully treads the line between keeping the kids enamored, and entertaining the big kids – i.e. us adults, who for the brief hour are allowed to revert back to the enthusiasm and amazement of five-year-olds. The only stickler with this is that there is perhaps a handful too many songs, which go on for a smidge too long, meaning interest wanes slightly towards the end of each musical interlude. But it’s a tiny stickler in an otherwise brilliant show.
All in all, then, Me and my Bee is a delightful show for both kids and adults that lives up to the hype. There’s enough in there to keep everyone entertained, and, with its instructions for planting sunflowers and party bag of seeds, it’s a show with a conscience. It’s an utterly adorable show that really knows its stuff. Bee there or bee square.
Me and My Bee is playing at the Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Fringe until August 28.