Molly Whuppie (4 stars)

Scottish folk tale brought to glorious life in this lively show

Molly Whuppie

credit: Duncan McGlynn

When the house lights go down at the start of any children's show, a small voice can often be heard protesting the darkness - the theatre can feel like a strange, alien place to a child more used to the bright glare of a TV screen.

Edinburgh-based theatre company Licketyspit head that feeling off at the pass, by setting the scene nice and early. Actors Amy McGregor and Virginia Radcliffe introduce themselves at the very beginning, explaining what theatre is and the parts they'll play. It's a gentle, reassuring approach that settles everyone down for the story about to unfold.

Licketyspit first introduced the bold character of Molly Whuppie back in 2001, long before Brave's Merida came on the scene. Whuppie is the original strong Scottish heroine, who takes on a huge giant and mean-spirited king to ensure her family has food for the winter feast.

Her tale is told with as much physicality and dynamism as McGregor and Radcliffe can muster – which is a lot. Swinging over two horizontal bars, they dart around the stage as Molly and her sister, balance precariously on the 'bridge of one hair', or lumber across the giant's bounteous garden wearing enormous feet.

Based on an old Scottish folk tale, the narrative follows Molly on her quest to secure food and drink from the king, who languishes in his high castle with plenty of both to spare. Along the way she meets a giant who, unbeknownst to her, is as scared of Molly as she is of him.

So many messages are gently shared here – about friendship, caring, doing the right thing – and throughout the show, the audience is encouraged, and heartily agrees, to join in with songs and noises, accompanied by the beautiful sound of live harp and fiddle.

Assembly Roxy, until 28 Aug (not 17, 24), 10.30am, £12 (£9).

Molly Whuppie

  • 4 stars

Licketyspit Molly and her mother and sister live by the seashore. A great winter descends and freezes the sea. At night, Molly spies the golden towers of a castle high on the mountain. She tiptoes off up the mountain to ask the King for food for the Winter Feast, little knowing there is a Giant in the forest or that to…


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