This ambitious company set out to create a magical, immersive experience. They offer tours all over the world; in Barcelona, Moscow, Kazan and many more. This is their second time at the Edinburgh Fringe and they are trying to offer something truly unique.
I waited apprehensively at our meeting point, clearly mapped out by a helpful WhatsApp message they had sent earlier in the day. The streets lights flickered on in a happy coincidence as cloaked figures came to greet me. We were given cloaks of our own, big comfy earphones and mp3s were hung around our necks. For seventy minutes we listened to many enchanting tales of Edinburgh through our earphones as we followed and watched our mysterious guides.
The narrator tells us this tour ‘takes place in our imagination’ and the city is merely the backdrop. We started with the story of Farolero himself, an old trickster given an enchanted lantern by fate. Our guide brought out a white box as if from thin air and transformed it into a small shadow puppet theatre. This, projections and some brief physical theatre were used at different points in the tour. The stories are centred around Edinburgh history, which I appreciated. We learned of Decan Brodie, the body snatchers and of course little Greyfriars Bobby. There were also some lesser known stories, such as Major Weir and the headless drummer.
The timings could have been better. It was clear at moments we were behind the audio, which was describing a building we couldn’t see. At times we just stood around while Farolero gestured randomly, wondering what we were suppose to be looking at. Farolero’s entrance seemed late as his introduction had been and gone, he also didn’t seem to know the route and at times became distracted.This can be forgiven as the town was incredibly busy. Our route took us directly into the mass of Edinburgh’s drunken nightlife. We were often pointed out and ridiculed.
The one thing I cannot forgive about this tour is the constant mispronunciation. Listening to an American accent say ‘Edinboro’ and ‘Musselboro’ made me cringe. There were also some glaring inaccuracies such as ‘John’ Mackenzie and ‘Joan’ Rowling.
Safety for the audience was lacking. Tripping over things in the dark, crossing roads into on-coming traffic and ending the tour right in-between two busy roads with lit sparklers. A nice idea but one came way too close to my face in the huddled mess we were standing in.
It’s a lovely idea and I can understand how in the right circumstances it could be truly magical. But for the price tag, it needs to offer more.
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