The Magic Quest

Mon 28th July – Sun 10th August 2014


David Harris

at 19:34 on 2nd Aug 2014



It’s worth making the trip to the small village of Duddingston just for the scenery: expect beautiful gardens, stark hillsides, and a stunning view of the loch. This, coupled with The Magic Quest, would make a fine family afternoon outside the city centre.

The production was a stroll through the gardens of Duddingston Kirk on a quest to protect the environment from a goblin who wants to take over the land and exploit it for mining. This struck me as a little high-brow for the ages at which the show is aimed (4 to 11). Whilst the premise might be accessible for the older end of that spectrum, the rest of the show was definitely aimed at the younger years. The eldest child there, around 8 years old, did not appear to be engaged.

The entire production is delivered in Scots, and for the most part the actors successfully convey the story through their acting, emotions, and facial expressions (at which Robert Williamson, playing Tumshie the Jester, is particularly adept). However, it occasionally hindered the communication; when asked what a clue meant, a child near me replied “I don’t know, I don’t speak Scots!” This may, of course, be less of a problem for more local families.

On the whole the children were highly entertained by characters’ antics, particularly a slapstick fight between Williamson and an ogre (played by Alan Ireby). The cast were friendly and conversational with the children on walks between locations, keeping them entertained and interacting well with them during the scenes. They also did just enough to engage the adults present, which I feel is important for any children’s show.

To complete a trip to Duddingston, the gardens would be worth exploring beyond what the show offers. The venue is right next to Holyrood Park, as well as Duddingston Loch and Bird Sanctuary, so head here if you want an afternoon outdoors. The Kirk itself is open for visitors on Thursdays and Sundays, and there is an inn down the road if you are looking for things to do indoors. If you are planning an outing here, be sure to check the weather forecast, dress appropriately, and be aware of bus times.


Anna Grace Symington

at 21:28 on 2nd Aug 2014



This show is certainly one for the kids. It is held in Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens, a 25min bus from the city centre. The interactive event takes your young ones on a journey into the magical landscape of traditional Scotland.

The gardens are beautifully maintained and the show makes full use of the space. You are led by a friendly elf following a series of clues. You sing with a court jester and move from pond to grove to tree on a quest to find the mythical "dregan" that will defeat the evil goblin.

The educational aspects include environmentalist undertones and use of basic Scots words. The evil goblin is trying to tear up the beautiful landscape that elves and children play in, all for the sake of mining gold. Luckily the elves and children understand the importance of maintaining the land and so are willing to stand up to the bullie-dozers that the goblin plans to bring in.

The use of Scots is also entertaining and sets the mood for a return to the good old days when man was in touch with nature rather than trying to destroy it. A word that features heavily in the show is "muckle". For those not familiar with Scots, muckle is a word used to mean a large amount of something, and "many a mickle makes a muckle" a delightful phrase meaning that lots of small amounts of a thing makes a big amount of a thing.

The performers are appropriately enthusiastic and engage the children with laughs and smiles that are infectious. The costumes are vibrant and mystical. And the quest is as exciting and silly as a children's show should be.

The show description recommends itself as being appropriate for 4 - 11 year olds. However the content and delivery lends itself to the younger end of this age range; over 7s might find themselves somewhat less than enthralled by the fairy-tale.

Ideally this show would be seen on a sunny day given its outdoor setting. However this reviewer saw the it under showery skies and, equipped with a good rain coat, would still recommend it on a wet, grey day.


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