To many visitors the Edinburgh Fringe is all about comedy, whether it be stand-up, improv, new wave or establishment. Eastlake Productions’ Very Blue Peter draws a fine line between theatre and character comedy, aping the format of the classic BBC children’s television show. A voice-over insinuates that a lost episode exists in which disgruntled presenters hijack the studio and hold guests to ransom. The problem is that its neither particularly funny or dramatic.
This format relies heavily on well-oiled audience participation and as usual, when this is the case, there is a heightened level of unpredictability. The laboured script and two-dimensional characters negotiate the flimsy premise with understandable caution and Toby Boutall as the beery, bullying narrator gets taken down by a couple of the sharper, less intimidated guests.
A running gag about Morph and the introduction of a completed Tracy Island have mileage but by the point at which the time capsule is open and clouds of cocaine bellow out, it’s too late.
At 60 minutes, both story and gags have run out of steam and no amount of frenzied Irish dancing can revive it. Very Blue Peter is a fun idea that desperately needs clarity and is about as immersive as your average pantomime.