The Fantastical Story Factory (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Fantastical Story Factory

Steve Ullathorne

Improvised cleverness and musical fun at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It’s impossible not to marvel at the talent and skill that goes into an improvised musical. The ability to piece together a rhyming couplet in your head at a moment’s notice, lock into your colleague’s on-the-spot harmony, and synchronise jazz hands and leg kicks with the performer standing next to you, is hard-won indeed.

So applause indeed to Showstoppers for doing this with such aplomb. Gathering names, places, adjectives and more from the young audience, this talented company works them into a storyline complete with song, dance and cleverly improvised music from the keyboard and percussion accompaniment,

It’s a formula that works especially well at their evening adult shows, where a touch of alcohol and abundance of shared cultural references mean the laughs come thick and fast. Here, most of the humour is generated by the children themselves (‘where should the action take place?’ asks the cast – ‘inside a giraffe’ comes the inspired reply).

The end result can never come close to a musical where time and attention has gone into shaping the lyrics and structure, so not every song is a hands-down winner. But for liveliness, fun and skilful performances, this factory’s well worth a visit.

Gilded Balloon, 622 6552, until 17 Aug, 1.15pm, £10.

The Fantastical Story Factory

The Fantastical Story Factory make up stories from your ideas! A musical adventure which has you exploring magical kingdoms, meeting wonderful characters and singing along by the end.