This lively, uncomplicated, perfectly delightful show is just the thing to round off a fun day at the Fringe. The venue is a guest house – if I understood it right, some of the performers actually live there – but the action's spread across the globe, from the depths of the sea to the edge of space. In a small group of up to six people, you'll move from room to room to meet a procession of charismatic characters, each of whose lives is intertwined with a figure known only as the Explorer.
The production has a home-made feel, yet it's anything but ramshackle. Each of the scenes is a fully-formed character sketch in its own right – except, that is, for the one which is a fully-formed sensuous dance. And they've given real thought to the logistics, with clear directions to guide you from room to room and helpful markings to tell you where to stand. The result is genuinely immersive; it runs like clockwork, yet the mechanics underpinning it are completely hidden away.
It's also as good an advertisement as I've ever seen for the magic of theatre. If you look carefully, you can see that you're just in bedrooms with sheets draped over the furniture, but beautifully-designed lighting and a few well-chosen props transport us instantly to the four corners of the world. One moment we're in the chilly Antarctic tundra, snowflakes swirling above us; the next we're in the rainforest, amidst the wreckage of a crashed plane. In another room we're treated to a spectacular dancing light-show, a visual feast equal to any of the pyrotechnics you might see on a larger stage.
Each of the characters speaks of the Explorer: a shadowy figure who's led them all to foreign lands, then betrayed and abandoned them. Needless to say, we meet the Explorer ourselves at the end – and he launches us into a different, more participatory kind of entertainment, which nicely rounds out the show. Often in events like this one, you walk round people you've never met, then go on your way without speaking or properly connecting; it's a welcome twist to include something here that brings everyone together.
The individual performances are necessarily larger-than-life, but believable and even relatable all the same; the stranded explorer who greets us at the start hovers convincingly on the edge of madness, the drunken sea-dog is gloriously bombastic as he tells his improbable tale. Overall this is a joyous hour, crammed full of entertainment, but realised with a quiet and self-effacing skill. Shows like this often sell out once word gets around – so if you like the sound of it, book early.