Free (with optional donation) online via company website
Select A Quest, from Pins and Needles Productions, is an unexpected delight. An interactive online quest to find the magic whistle, it takes questors through swamps, plane wrecks, haunted scout huts, the North Pole and more, in search of a magic whistle. A sign along the bottom of the screen proudly proclaims that the show was made in just 72 hours, but it’s evident from the set and costume design that time was not the only constraint. A ghostly queen wears a crown of spoons and forks, bound together with tape, a personnel professional sits in a packing trunk, a cloud is mostly….shaving foam? Part of the fun lies in identifying which domestic items have been pressed into artistic service.
Bea Roberts has written a trippy piece of theatre, made up of interconnected character sketches. Each sketch is only three or four minutes long, but the characters are, if broad, very neatly realised, with their own verbal tics, back stories and links to other residents of the forest. I particularly enjoyed the top secret government scientist. While it’s not ROFL funny, it is definitely frequent-giggle-funny. Having been killed by a fairy, my fellow explorer and I were told that she didn’t like our dancing so ‘she did a murder….on you.’
Not really surprising that the fairy didn’t like our dancing, because we didn’t actually get up and do any. But this is a show with enough breadth, depth and variety that the whole family could easily spend a fun Saturday night getting properly involved: exercising and dancing on command, giving away shoes as required and making decisions by majority rule. Equally, it is simple, engaging and innocent enough to keep primary schoolers occupied on their own for an hour or two.
We did, eventually, find the whistle, but it was a tough mission with a lot of (literally) dead ends. As we became increasingly desperate and bedtime slipped past, it was good to find that you can skip through scenes you’ve seen before. That said, each one is packed with enough silly, sophisticated and sly jokes to reward repeat viewings. Great fun, and an inspiring showcase of both digital and analogue creativity.
Written by: Bea Roberts
Directed by: Emma Earle
Available until: indefinitely available online at any time