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Gilded Balloon Teviot

It’s 1998, three months after The Childrens Channel had closed it gates for good and three former presenters Jez, Tracey and Jake (who are mildly speaking rather irate) have hijacked an episode of Blue Peter at the BBC! So this was the curious premise to kick off this late night form of immersive entertainment.

As I turned up to see this show I was greeted by a rather lairy half naked fellow called Billy. Who tell me and everybody else that this was going to be a really weird show. In a matter of fact, he banged on about it quite a bit. Even calling it the weirdest show of the Fringe! I’ll admit, I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t like to know too much about something before I see it. I mean for example I never watch trailers for films! And if there happens to be a lot of hype about something, my gut instinct is to avoid it for quite a while. So the rather boastful nature from Billy was kind of setting himself and his troupe for a fall in my books. And although it was highly charged and frenetic, it genuinely didn’t come across as half as weird as they thought it was.

As I said there is a lot of energy here and it’s quite interactive but there doesn’t seem to be much of a guiding influence to these characters. You can tell that they’re angry and frustrated and  are still pretending to be jolly with putting on a children’s show, but I feel apart from Jake who’s always lamenting about all the bad things that have happened to him, we never really find out as to what makes the rest of these characters tick. Their behaviour is a bit too mercurial, but not in an interesting or even mysterious way.

Saying that, it not without its moments. You have a narrator that seems to be channeling his inner Valentine Dyall, which does make things quite atmospheric at times and there a funny little bit where one of the understudy’s has dreams of become a main player. But to be honest for all this shows sound and fury, I felt it didn’t really signify anything. If this show was a bit let abrasive and a bit more cerebral with dark humour, they truly could have had a genuinely weird winner on their hands here.

Markus Helbig.



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