Just William’s Luck
Until August 26th (12:10)
The Fringe festival is so varied, with so much on offer, that every single niche is surely covered somewhere. Thus, if you are a grandfather of a certain age, & you wanted to see a show with your grandchildren of school-age – in particular your grandson(s) – then Just William’s Luck is the more-than-perfect choice. I’m not saying no other groups would enjoy the play – I did immensely – its just I can really see that particular grandfather & grandson combo becoming rather passionate about this strangely deranged performance.
Richmal Crompton’s Just William stories are irreproachable classics, & are brought to life by Shedload Theatre’s convenial genius, with the help of Richmal’s great-great nephew Jonathan Massey. They’re like a pantisocracy of art are this lot, whose quite daring retro theatre is a joy to watch. The story is this; William Brown & his pals – the self-acclaim’d Gang of Outlaws – want to put on a play, using sets & props cobbled from kitchens & cupboards. Tomfoolery is the watchword, as the tale of Arthurian adventure is played out via a torrential sympathy towards the antics of the Goon Show.
With an acute sensitivity to the original, born clearly from Massey’s familial respect, Just William’s Luck is a mimicking masterpiece, full of slick touches, which as art perhaps transcends the books themselves. William Brown is now flesh & blood & his world is full of living colours & breathtaking vigour. There is also the arrival of precocious six-year-old Violet Elizabeth into the mix, played by the superb Lousie Waller, whose annoying mischief-making is the star-turn. Witness on your haunches spectatorship – you never get a chance to relax & philosophize about events unfolding before you. The best way to describe the experience of seeing the play is seeing five balloons blown up to bursting, then released into whizzing bat-like inspirals at the same time…