Not reliant on pop culture, at its core, Wilde Creatures is a wholesome, engaging take on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. Twenty-one years on from their first outing at the Fringe with The Happy Prince and Other Stories, Tall Stories are back to remind Edinburgh how to tell a tall tale.
Wilde Creatures weaves its own narrative to share the lesser tales. With a statue to erect, the mayor of a walled-off town seeks to immortalise his own visage. Greedy, self-centred but classically trained in the violin – this Mayor relents to putting it to a vote for who the statue should depict.
It takes a small while for the audience to fully invest. By the conclusion of our first tale though, they are entirely on board. Cementing the next 45 minutes with accents, props, lashings of humour and wit. Tall Stories manage to somehow enhance with each story. All of which are performed not just through straight performance, but through song. No self-respecting storyteller could express themselves without vocals, something Tall Stories nails within the opening moments.
Physically – the comedic storytelling on display is exceptionally innovative. There’s a perfect balance with the bitterness often found on the tail of these tales with humour. Matt Jopling’s closing performance as the scrutinized wild boy – a version of The Birthday of the Infanta conveys the desolation frequent among fairy tales. All the while his physical performance warms us to the character, his fall becoming more gut-churning. The range of emotions belted into the audience with such speed and ferocity is completely overwhelming.
This is how you share fairy tales. Thus far, few else at the Fringe engages a young (and old) audience in the same manner Wilde Creatures manages. It radiates deep passion for the lore, dedication to the smallest of parts is mesmerising. Wilde Creatures conveys messages faintly concealed beneath ingenious storytelling.