Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: The Story Beast, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson.
There can’t be many Fringe shows beginning with an epic rendition of Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon, shot through with Ray Winstone’s best Cockney geezering. But that’s just one of the many enjoyable sequences in John Henry Falle’s silly, theatrical romp through song and storytelling.
Always willing to be the most melodramatic ham in sketch group The Beta Males, Falle channels his love of fantasy into a big, wild-eyed performance as The Story Beast, often delighting with the impish absurdity of his tales. With children’s toys spread around his feet, he surveys a series of murders in Beast Town, all the while cursing his nemesis, The Darkromancer. Around this core narrative he weaves recollections of the first Fringe, 8,000 years ago; a rhyming ditty on the kings and queens of England that projects forward into a dystopian future; insight into the origins of bacon and best of all, a nightmarish analysis of the full horror lurking behind the Teddy Bears’ Picnic.
A charismatic performer, capable of throwing a straight-ish song into the mix without derailing the enterprise, Falle’s love for the folk traditions he pastiches is infectious and he easily persuades the crowd to join him in a closing Harry Potter tribute.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 13 August 2015
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