The Sagas of Noggin the Nog (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

Live action Edinburgh Festival Fringe adaptation of children's TV classic

Every year it seems the Fringe gives parents (and in this case maybe some grandparents as well) the opportunity to revel in the nostalgia of their childhood TV viewing, under the guise of taking their children to a show – and this year is no exception.

Created by children's TV legends Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin (Bagpuss, The Clangers) Noggin the Nog followed the adventures of Viking King Noggin and his adversary, Nogbad the Bad. For this live show, Third Party Productions have taken the original story of Noggin's search for a bride, and the story of the Ice Dragon, and created a wonderful piece of children's theatre.

With a combination of live action, puppetry and the occasional song we are transported to the land of the Northmen. Beautifully pitched between magical and manic, the actors are constantly moving as they change helmets and cloaks to represent the different characters. Despite this, the flow – or the audience’s attention – is never lost. The songs are accompanied by ukulele and wind organ, adding to the old school TV vibe, while a number of witty asides keep the parents amused as well.

Despite its subject matter, one of the key charms of the original series was its gentleness – something that has not been lost here. This is a production that clearly reveres its source material, with scenes from the show projected onto a screen, and the puppets beautifully rendered. The cast too clearly enjoy their roles and this enthusiasm is infectious, drawing us into their world of talking birds, Viking boats and dragons.

If you have fond recollections of Noggin, then you’re in for a treat – for the rest of you, it's a wonderful introduction to what you missed.

Assembly George Square Gardens, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 11, 18), 12.50pm, £9 – £10 (£7 – £8).

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

  • 4 stars

The classic stories by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, which became one of the most iconic television series of the 1970s, are playfully retold using puppets, original music and film.