Pros: A great combination of theatre and history.
Cons: More polished storytelling required.
When it comes down to walking tours I consider myself an expert – this is my favourite way to get to know a city. That’s why I was very excited to join The Cloak and Dagger Show, a first-time Fringe act with a well-established older sibling in London.
The company’s mission is to share with their audience the surviving stories from the Jacobean period that revolve around the poor and the peasants, whose biographies rarely survive to these days. In times of war and famine, we can expect these stories to be quite ghastly, so be wary if you’re taking children, as the language can be pretty strong. When I attended, a family with a 12-year old (the age limit indicated as a guideline) made some remarks about the occasional use of the c-word.
The evening starts following our expert guide Will Crewe for a 75-minute tour of the Grassmarket and the narrow alleys at the feet of the Edinburgh castle, whilst listening to gory accounts that involved prostitution, blood and quite resourceful uses for human scat. The attention is kept alive by a continuous interaction with the participants, who are repeatedly encouraged to ask questions. This is my favourite part, as it really makes the guide’s historical knowledge shine.
Back to the venue, you attend a short theatrical performance. Witnessing a true story of betrayal and revenge, the audience is invited to express an opinion and choose which of the characters they think is telling the truth.
Part promenade performance, part conventional play, The Cloak and Dagger Show‘s unique formula can really deliver an evocative experience, but, in its current state, is still rough around the edges. Perhaps a little less induced audience participation and a more polished storytelling will contribute to creating the right atmosphere. I am confident that, if Three Door Productions were to return next year, they will have matched the quality of their highly-coveted London tour of Southwark.
Devised and Produced by: Three Door Productions
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run