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Theatre of a Thousand Names or...


Venue:The Crags Bar, 72-74 Newington Road Edinburgh EH9 1QN
Phone: 07703 372 089
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: Upstairs
AUG 4-20 at 23:15 (60 min)
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A sizzling new comedy theatre show based on game books we all read as kids such as Choose Your Own Adventure and Find Your Fate. The audience is in the driving seat! They decide the path the characters will take through a world where anything is possible. Each night is different and new stories will unfold when the audience make new choices.This laugh fest is a piece of interactive theatre filled with Terry Gilliam-esque animation and an immense amount of silliness and no small measure of tomfoolery!

“An engaging, frantic romp through adventure fiction led by two seriously high-energy performers.” – **** Everything Theatre
“The concept itself is frankly genius, and both Wright and Dawkins attack it with enthusiasm.” – A View from the Gods

‘Theatre of a Thousand Names or…’ is new comedy theatre company with big ambitions comprised of an unholy alliance betwixt Edwin Wright and Tim Dawkins. Together they have years of experience in comedy and theatre.

Tim previously has worked with comedy groups such as, Found Objects Presents, Geeksploitation and currently podcasts the Mostly Made Up Doctor Who Episode Guide, achieving notoriety as a comedy slut. He is now faithful to Edwin who was crowned King of Comedy by Greg Davies* and has toured the world playing notable roles like Benedick in Much Ado, Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Daddy Barn Owl in The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark. This new partnership have conceived and given birth to the greatest multi-path comedy Decide-A-Quest show the world has ever seen!

*At the tender age of 15 Edwin was crowned King of Comedy by his then drama teacher Greg Davies. He might not remember this but Edwin definitely does.

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News and Reviews for this Show

August 29, 2015  Everything Theatre
Decide-A-Quest, Canal Café Theatre – Review
Back in the days before computer games, a series of books allowed readers to direct their own adventures by making choices at key points. Do you go down into the cellar? Turn to page 68. Or up to the loft? Turn to page 74. The mechanism was crude, but the effect was engaging.
Decide-A-Quest, part of the 2015 Camden Fringe, is a comedy show based on these books. You’re welcomed into the theatre by Tim Dawkins and Edwin Wright, two larger-than-life actors with extravagant facial hair and pantomime costumes. ‘My name is Narra Tor’, intones Dawkins, imbuing the task of the narrator with a mystical significance. Wright plays the character You (as in, You find yourself in a dark forest) – a would-be explorer with a pathological fear of owls, who joins the search for the mythical Yeti and who discovers along the way that wolves can be tamed by the sound of soft rock classics played on pan pipes.
With high comedy, punning wordplay and frenzied action, the pair guide the audience through a fast-paced evening of chaotic fun. Key decisions are voted on by the audience, which then determines the action taken by the duo: it may lead from the foothills of Everest to Las Vegas, or the distant planet PaGe 69. Every evening has a different course, we’re told, as the cast jump to the page to which the audience directs them. Fortunately the actors are able to resort to the magical powers of an audience member dubbed Limpy the Finger Monk, whose outsize cardboard finger has the supreme ability to turn back the page. And indeed, some decisions have to be made two or three times, as the wrong choice can lead to sudden death – or, even worse, to the fate of being condemned to life as a peg salesman in Basildon.
The set and props are deliberately, outrageously low key. The prize for completing the quest is distributed from a Lidl carrier bag; a camp fire is printed on a couple of laminated sheets of A4; the backdrop screen is a crumpled sheet suspended from a couple of poles. Yet, projected onto this backdrop is a slick, professional series of slides and moving images, displaying both animated pages from the book and photographic backgrounds to set the scene, mixed with clips from video games during the many action sequences.
While you won’t find not a lot of subtlety here, there’s enough hilarity to sustain the audience throughout the hour-long show. It’s a fast, lively and boisterous evening that’s high on testosterone and action, as the high-energy pair of actors romp through scene after scene. While one or two scenes drag a little, some are genuinely moving: the final show tunes duet moved some of the audience to tears. A great entertainment, if not an intellectual feast. Click Here

August 29, 2015  Views from the Gods
Decide-A-Quest, Canal Café Theatre – Review
Do you remember those pick your own adventure books from when you were a kid? Chances are, if you're any younger than my generation, the reference means nothing to you, however Edwin Wright and Tim Dawkins clearly remember the genre with the same fondness as I do. Before point and click computer games really look off, we were all turning to page 63 to see if we would get any further in our adventure or if we would simply end up dead. In which case, we would all silently go back a page and save the day.

In Decide-A-Quest, our hero (Wright) - and I use the word "hero" loosely - must decide whether to go questing with an indecisive procrastinator (Dawkins) he runs into one day. Things get off to a somewhat ropy start, but the hapless duo are rescued by Limpy (a confused but good-natured member of the audience) and they're on track to find the mysterious Yeti. Or are they?

The concept itself is frankly genius, and both Wright and Dawkins attack it with enthusiasm. Questing dilemmas can be seen on our "book" projected onto the stage's brought forward back wall, but if you can't quite read the text from where you're sitting, the narrator (also Dawkins) does the honour for you anyway. As an audience, we're asked to help determine what happens next, but it's unclear as to whether the comedians were always responding to what they thought we were shouting out, or if they were always propelling the action forward according to their own plans. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that on the occasions when they did seem to disobey the audience majority, it was simply down to mishearing.

Where the show lets itself down is in the length of the sequences. Every time we choose the questers' next move, there's a long piece of action, thus making the performers the two drivers again, rather than us. Given the genre, we want to be more in control and more often - short, punchier cut scenes and more choices to be made would make this production far tighter and more engaging. Although it's only one change, it would admittedly involve a lot more technical work behind the scenes. I appreciate it's a big ask, but you couldn't accuse Dawkins and Wright of not being committed to this piece.

It really is a wonderful formula, one which like The Play That Goes Wrong could be honed to a fine art, then have a number of different themes applied to keep it fresh. The Murder Before Christmas is essentially the same as The Play That Goes Wrong, and yet I've seen both and laughed just as hard at both each time. Doing something in a similar vein would allow the Decide-A-Quest formula to be reused on multiple occasions without it ever getting tired, and without audiences getting bored. This show after all involves far more improv and has an inbuilt actual unpredictability rather than a predictable unpredictability. It lends itself very well to recycling.

All that Wright and Dawkins really need to do is increase the number of potential decisions per show. They bounce off each other brilliantly, and are incredibly endearing in their deliberately ramshackle double act. Together, they could feasibly create Decide-A-Quest: The Search for the Yeti, Decide-A-Quest: The Voyage Home... maybe not. But you see where I'm going here; there's a thrillingly exciting potential for this concept to establish itself and really have legs.

Decide-A-Quest is an energetic hour-long show packed full of laughs, plenty of costume changes and nostalgia. It doesn't quite know whether it wants to be a play, or a piece of comedy, but that doesn't really matter. I'd love to see Theatre of a Thousand Names Or... further develop and effectively franchise their idea as I had so much fun with Decide-A-Quest, if I could have skipped back a few pages again, I would have done. Click Here

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