+3 Interview: The First King of England in a Dress

“I auditioned for this show through Young Actors Company in Cambridge, and we performed the show in multiple locations throughout the UK.”

WHO: Izzy Dawson: Ethelred/Ethel

WHAT: “Vikings, giants and magic await you in this fun-packed historical adventure. Will Ethelred get his mum back? Why has the king turned up on his doorstep dressed like a peasant? And just why does the king want to wear the old clothes of Ethelred’s mum? Find out in this delightful adaptation of an English folk tale that’s rammed full of engaging storytelling, original music on an ancient instrument and plenty of joining in!”

WHERE: theSpaceTriplex – Studio (Venue 38) 

WHEN: 15:05 (50 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Yes, we could not comprehend the amount of people that would be at the festival. I was looking forward to performing, and seeing other shows as well! Fortunately, we managed to see a variety of shows, from physical theatre to improvised musicals!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

Before the Edinburgh Fringe, I was asked by my church to write and sing my own composition. I played/sung to 3 services (over 1000 people)! This was a big achievement for me because I managed to overcome my fear of judgement from others, and I loved people hearing my music!

Tell us about your show.

Our show is written and produced by Chip. Set over 1000 years ago, and it follows Ethelred’s story of finding/saving his mother alongside partner King Knut! I auditioned for this show through Young Actors Company in Cambridge, and we performed the show in multiple locations throughout the UK. Going next, we’ll be part of next years national celebration of 1000 years since Britain’s first equality law: Kingdom 1000.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I would recommend seeing a variety of genres as this covers many interesting themes! I preferred seeing improvisation shows (e.g: Showstopper is fabulous). We also saw YUCK, which is a hilarious and outgoing physical theatre show led by a full female cast.



The First King of England in a Dress” (theSpaceTriplex, AUG 1-17, 19-24 : 50mins)

“Stuck in traffic on the A14, I’ll never look at East Anglia the same way again.”

Editorial Rating: 4 Stars: Nae Bad

At a rainy BBQ in Newcastle, en route to #EdFringe, I heard one auld pal explain where they lived, “it’s up the road from A. You know, down the way from B.” Up and down don’t enter the conversation much in the part of East Anglia I’m from. Not when it comes to directions. ‘Flat’ is the word. ‘Eels’ is another. The town of Ely is named for them. Dutch navigators, the digging ditches rather than the exploring East of Suez kind, put in the channel and loads which took care of the water but they didn’t get round to putting back the hills. I say putting back the hills because there were once hills in East Anglia, something I didn’t know until seeing ‘The First King of England in a Dress’.

We enter to find a wicker eel trap, eel spear and other assorted must-have items from the time when Saxons and Vikings lived in close disharmony a thousand or so years back. We are greeted by the actors, who put Daughter 1.0 (aged 4) and the other kids instantly at their ease. We are in for an hour of smashing storytelling set in a land divided and a country ready to be born.

Ethelred misses his mum. She was stolen from him by something worse than Vikings. So when a stranger asks his dad for a bed for the night, he is naturally nervous. But when the stranger and Ethelred start sharing stories of giants, frogs and magic, it isn’t long before they discover surprising secrets about each other…

Together actors Kate Madison, Chip Colquhoun, and Izzy Dawson craftily conjure a bygone age into something both comprehensible and real. Chip is the author of three books, one of which inspired the stage play. His writing style is hugely engaging, weaving big historical themes into material that is finely tailored to his young readership. The other two tomes are already Amazon Primed and on their way to Christmas stockings. A finicky reviewer, which I am, would suggest that the foreshortening required to fit EdFringe’s shorter timeslots could have been finer, but the kids didn’t seem to notice or care.

They were too busy being engrossed in making squelchy sounds to compliment characters walking through muddy bogs, and helping the cast out with their improvised make-up, mop wigs and hidden crowns. The kids are all having a great time, although some of the adults might have prefered fewer demands for their on-stage presence.

This adult, however, is extremely grateful to ‘The First King of England in a Dress’ for opening up the world of East Anglian folktales. It’s more than a little special to exit an EdFringe show considerably wiser than when you went in. Stuck in traffic on the A14, I’ll never look at East Anglia the same way again.

nae bad_blue

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Dan Lentell (Seen 13 August)

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