Following their fantastic run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year with Goggles, ThisEgg are back and even better than before. Representing the recently formed Bee Party, Josie, Greta and Joe are in Edinburgh on a mission: they are here to save the bees.
“A political party, disguised as a party party, disguised as a show”, Me and My Bee is an exciting hour that is both eccentric and educational. The idea of masking a political agenda with a “party party” – complete with party poppers, party hats and even party bags (!) at the end – is delightful, cleverly used for comedic effect along with getting the younger members of the audience on their side. There are a number of treats in store for the older audience members too, who will certainly enjoy ThisEgg’s quips on politics, Theresa May and risk assessments.
Me and My Bee combines song, dance and wall charts to provide a thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking piece on our changing environment. From the outset, the atmosphere is all abuzz as you enter the Beside theatre to see a dancing grown man dressed as a bee (well, sort of), encouraging everyone to join in. As the show progresses, the slick use of props, choreography and perfectly timed musical effects are fantastic, creating a clever and cohesive piece of theatre.
As for the issue at hand, it is clear that a lot of time and effort has gone into understanding just how integral these tiny insects are to our economy and agriculture – stressing how devastating bee extinction would be. Yet, through the quirky and whimsical nature of ThisEgg’s productions, Me and My Bee conveys its message in an accessible way.
Their success also lies in these incredibly talented actors. Without a doubt, Joe captivates the audience from the get-go, and captures everyone’s imagination as he shares a heart-warming (and heart-breaking) love story between one, small, solitary bee and his beautiful flower.
Josie, Greta and Joe are a force of nature, and the show’s dynamics reveal a stellar chemistry between the trio. They each have excellent comedic timing; they confidently interact with the audience, not afraid to step away from the script. The meta-theatrical element of Me and My Bee is fantastic, with the fourth wall immediately broken – although briefly rebuilt in one segment. It works perfectly with the political conference nature of the show, preventing the actors from taking themselves too seriously. Even when there are a few fumbles, they effortlessly recover and make it a part of the show, showing how comfortable they are as performers.
While the laughs may begin to die away towards the end, this is for a very good reason. As the bee’s story comes to a close, a certain US president makes an appearance. Gate-crashing this party, the recording of Donald Trump announcing the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is a bleak reminder that the threat against bees – and the whole planet, in fact – is very much a reality.
As you leave the Pleasance Courtyard (party bag in hand) I hope you feel as energised and motivated to make a difference in the world as I did. Me and My Bee is a touching tribute to bees, with a message that can be understood and shared by people of all ages.
Now, stop being naughty; stay away from fields of wheat; and most importantly, save the bees.
Me and My Bee
Beside – Pleasance Courtyard
Until 28th August (not 15th)
Photo credit: Pleasance