BY THE OWLE SCHREAME
Theatre. 15th & 19th Feb, 18:15, £9.
Theatre didn’t die.
Without a stage, without costumes or props, one man made it his mission to keep performing and to keep British theatre alive – stitching together Shakespearean scenes and medieval interludes, soaking them in sex and violence and bawdy, unintellectual humour. So it was that a strange and dangerous new type of illegal theatre was born: The Droll.
You may think that you know classical theatre. You don’t. The Drolls challenge the safe, friendly, elitist and intellectual notions we have of the Shakespearean stage, cutting it all away in favour of pantomime, carnival, sex, farts and shouting. No other professional company has staged the Drolls since the 17th century, and all but the most specialist of scholars are completely ignorant of the fact that they ever existed. This was sketch comedy for the working man, performed in pubs and back alleys, hundreds of years before the first working mans club or comedy store. We want to redress the balance of historical theatre, and bring back a taste of the rough, visceral, populist performance style that existed alongside the likes of the Globe.
“Droll is fantastic (sometimes messy) fun. There are moments – one in particular involving some milk – where the audience are literally brought to tears with laughter … There are some exquisite touches … We leave convinced that the droll is a form bursting with modern possibilities … it feels both wickedly old and excitingly new.” – Broadway Baby
“Every so often, perhaps only once in a Fringe, away from the mega-venues and their pre-packaged performances, one stumbles down a close or up a stair and realises the essence of the Fringe is alive and kicking in some wee back room. It surely is here, where five enthusiastic and accomplished performers … literally threw themselves into the action from the outset. ‘Droll’ is celebration rather than revival. The jokes still work, and can be seen in any contemporary pantomime, re-played ‘Carry On’ film or ‘Family Guy’ cartoon … If you enjoy your comedy on the rare side (in all the best senses) hie ye to this one.” – The Edinburgh Guide
“Performed by a cast of five, with great energy, snatches of ribald song, and a few (often comedic) props – including, on this occasion, some very suspect milk – this is fine entertainment of a farcical nature, where the audience is well served and knowingly included … ‘Droll’ is a very enjoyable show, less rough in performance than its set up suggests, and with more variety than its pieces’ plots promise, due to clever direction and the sustained attack and skill of its players. This is simple, but effective, staging and the relaxed performance style is great fun – very alive, often with improvisation – for performers and audience alike. Highly entertaining!” – Edinburgh Spotlight
The Owle Schreame theatre company has, since 2008, been dedicated to the research, exploration and evolution of historical theatre practic; exploring and evolving ancient techniques and approaches to recreate for modern audiences the rough, visceral, interactive experience of historical storytelling and theatrical performance.