“Bee Story is everything you would want in a children’s show. It is charming. It is lovely. It is magical”.
All good things come to an end and my Edinburgh Fringe 2022 finished with Bee Story. This is an Australian non-verbal circus show… there seems to be a lot of them about this year. Have they given up on beating us at sport? Is there something different in the Vegemite? Who knows? This trend is very welcome.
So yes, I have seen a few similar shows this year. I haven’t though seen a better one. Bee Story is everything you would want in a children’s show. It is charming. It is lovely. It is magical.
I doubt there is a better opening to any Fringe show than that of Bee Story. They may return – or you may see it elsewhere – so mum is the word but the first time you see Queen Bee was a moment of stunned delight. Neither I nor my youngest could believe it nor did we guess immediately how they did it.
It doesn’t stop from there. Over the course of the next hour there are unicycles, clowning (the facial expressions are simply wonderful), juggling, juggling with knives, some astonishing floor work, ballet, physical comedy (there’s a great scene with a snake and another with a net), acrobatics, gymnastic, and buckets of fun. Neither I nor the youngster could take our eyes off it. It was as if a mini-Cirque du Soleil had landed in Bristo Square. We were far from alone: there were spontaneous rounds of applause and whooping and hollering throughout.
The team at Arc Circus – Robbie Curtis and Lizzie McRae are seriously talented. Where else will you see a woman dressed as a Queen Bee being held in a series of bizarre positions whilst playing pop songs on a flute? You know, and I know, the answer is nowhere.
We meet Queen Bee and Worker Bee. Her Royal Highness – usually accompanied by God Save The Queen – wants more honey and poor old Worker Bee is doing his darnedest to get it but can’t quite. Then, from nowhere, the hive is hit by a bushfire.
Queen Bee has to lose her heirs and graces whilst Worker Bee enjoys a new friend as they work together to build a new hive. Of course, that is harder than it looks.
A magical hour with important messages. Teamwork and collaboration matters, friendship is key, that we need to care for our environment and that bees really do matter.
There’s probably some important British-Australian analysis on overcoming class divisions too but leave that to the grown-up reviewers.
The important part was my daughter and I loved this show and she said it was her favourite of the Fringe. She particularly loved it when Queen Bee poked her toy bee with her flute. I mean, that’s the sort of wonder you only get at the Fringe… and the sort of thing that makes children fall in love with theatre. A genuinely lovely little thing that I’d recommend to anyone.
Come for the buzz. Stay for the seizing of the means of production. Get your yellow/black coats on and go see this.