Belt Up's Octavia
Confused quest in a war zone
This article is from 2010.
Princess Octavia is on a quest to restore order to her war-torn land. In a tale inspired by Cornish folklore, she is guided on her way by sprites, witches and hobgoblins. Belt Up have won many fans (and an Edinburgh International Festival award) for their innovative, interactive storytelling but this is their first attempt at children’s theatre and, sadly, it shows.
The exuberance, imagination and undoubted talent of the young cast is let down by convoluted plotting and confused characterisation. Clearly, the aim is to immerse us in a magical environment rather than tell a straightforward tale but there’s simply not enough for a child audience to connect with (particularly at the lower end of the 5+ target age).
It’s a shame as the story touches upon potentially powerful themes (war, sacrifice, reconciliation) but these never really come to life, and even the audience participation, usually one of Belt Up’s strengths, feels forced.
C soco, 0845 260 1234, until 30 Aug (not 25), noon, £7.50–£9.50 (£5.50–£7.50).