Have you ever heard of the Battle of Maldon? I hadn’t either, but the tenth-century skirmish has become the subject of a uniquely entertaining sketch show from Daniel Nils Roberts. Part history lecture, part reconstruction, part thematically relevant story from Roberts’ own childhood, The Causeway is funny, clever, and unlike anything else at the Fringe.
As well as playing an array of convincing characters himself, Roberts uses pre-recorded audio and video displays to enhance the show and add supplementary characters when he is already on stage. This way, he thankfully avoids the solo-show temptation of talking to himself, and can also illustrate key points about the eponymous causeway. The show is dynamic and full of energy, holding the audience’s attention throughout.
The fourth wall weaves in and out of existence as Roberts casts an audience member as his avian companion, and several others as marauding soldiers. He strikes up an easy connection with his audience, and his improvised comedy training with Racing Minds and Austentatious shines through his casual off-the-cuff joking with us.
The Causeway is an entertaining romp through history and modern life, littered with clever puns and ridiculous similes. Many of these reoccur in new and endlessly inventive ways throughout the show, drawing a laugh from the audience every time.
The show is well-crafted and hangs together nicely: the many different characters and their storylines make sense and are tied together by an excellent ending. It’s funny, clever and unique, and you might even learn a thing or two about history.