+3 Interview: Ogg ‘n’ Ugg ‘n’ Dogg

“What I am really, really looking forward to at the moment is not having to flyer every day to get an audience.”

WHO: Colin Granger: Writer, director, marketing manager

WHAT: “Hail Ogg ‘n’ Ugg! Heroes! And ta so much for inventing the dog. Don’t miss this mind-boggling tale of how two Yorkshire hunter-gatherers palled up with the wolves and saved us from doglessness. Expect flying meat bones, sabre-toothed tigers, time-travelling stick and maybe, if you’re lucky, even a pat of Dogg! Award-winning Fideri Fidera’s reet funny comic take on the amazing evolutionary process that transformed the wolf into man’s best friend and all the dogs we see in the world today. Perfect for dog lovers young and old, big and small.”

WHERE: Gilded Balloon Teviot – Dining Room (Venue 14) 

WHEN: 12:30 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

My name’s Colin Granger and I’ve been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe in various guises for the past 35 years – as director, would-be actor, playwright, producer, fringe venue manager, and programmer. I’m back this year with Theatre Fideri Fidera, a children’s touring theatre company I set up with my partner Marina and our daughter Natasha Granger in 2016. This year we have brought a play I’ve written called ‘Ugg ‘n’ Ogg ‘n’ Dogg’ What I am really, really looking forward to at the moment is not having to flyer every day to get an audience. There are just too many children’s shows on the Fringe, and with Edinburgh, schools now back, far too few kids to watch them.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

The best thing that happened for our company in the last couple of years was getting good reviews for our 2017 production, Oskar’s Amazing Adventure, and it winning the Primary Times Children’s Choice Award. This gave us a good two years on the road playing at theatres and venues all over the UK and Ireland. The best thing for myself and Marina is that after getting sidetracked for nearly 25 years founding and running the arts and entertainment venue Komedia in Brighton and Bath, we handed over our jobs to our staff so we could to spend more time on our first love, creating theatre.

Tell us about your show.

The play is set a long time ago in the fresh, sparkling new world just after the Ice Age when there were no dogs for us to be best friends with. There were wolves but we didn’t like them and they didn’t like us. But then along came Yorkshire hunter-gatherers Ogg ‘n’ Ugg to pal up with the wolves, and save us all from a life of doglessness. Audiences can expect lots of fun, flying meat bones, rapping wolves, sabre-toothed tigers, time travelling sticks, and – if they’re lucky – even a chance to pat the world’s first dog – Dogg!

I wrote the script and directed ‘Ugg ’n’ Ogg ’n’ Dogg’, but as a company, we always develop the script in workshops, rehearsals, and previews, so my original script always gets changed a lot in the process. We are premiering Ogg ‘n’ Ugg in Edinburgh and start touring in October with performances in small rural touring venues in Dorset – my favourite type of touring.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I have hardly seen a thing. After a hard day flyering all I can manage is a hot bath and an early night. I have, however, seen one four times, Swipe Right Theatre’s ‘Scream Phone’ at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose. But have to own up, that my daughter is one of the performers and co-wrote and directed the show.


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“Ogg ‘n’ Ugg ‘n’ Dogg” (Gilded Balloon Teviot – Dining Room 12:30, AUG 13, 15-20, 22-26 : 12:30 : 60mins)

“Tooth and Claw are (almost) as real and as cute as the terrier asleep on the hearthrug. Their puppies would melt the heart of an ice giant on top of a glacier, in deepest Narnia in the coldest days of the late, unlamented Queen Jadis.”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars: Outstanding

If I could meet anyone from history, absolutely anyone, I should like to encounter with the individual who invented the shelf. Two brackets, one surface. Someone had to come up with that. Who were they? What where did they live? What did they plan to put on their novelty? Family Fringe favourites, Fideri Fidera, have a better answer. If they could meet anyone in history it would be the people who invented the dog. Those crafty hunter gatherers who, back in the day, when all the world was a garden, turned the ferocious wolf from a predator into a companion.

Ogg ‘n’ Ugg are out and about doing what they do best, getting tea ready. Watching the two legs are Tooth and Nail, two wolves wondering why omnivorous humans have to also eat meat which is the carnivorous wolfies’ only source of food. At the campfire that night the two sides of the equation begin to figure out a solution to the puzzle.

Fideri Fidera are not Fringe favourites for nothing. Every aspect of the production is marvellous. From the acting, which is pitched perfectly to the wide-eyed wee ones; to the puppets and puppetry, which are in turn beautifully constructed and wondrously brought to life; via the story itself which is full of heart and smiles.

The set is complicatedly simple. Two moveable and reversible panels dressed with leaves and undergrowth, vines and creepers. The lighting is liquid, washing all with a richness that transports us from the nondescript setting of the Teviot Dining Room in Fringe time.* But it’s the puppets that steal the show. Tooth and Claw are (almost) as real and as cute as the terrier asleep on the hearthrug. Their puppies would melt the heart of an ice giant on top of a glacier, in deepest Narnia in the coldest days of the late, unlamented Queen Jadis.

*49 weeks of the year the modestly grand dining room is considerably more interesting than the SRC meetings I used to attend in it.

Daughter 1.0’s first ever theatre production was Fideri Fidera’s Oskar’s Amazing Adventure. Now aged 4 Oskar continues to loom large in her imagination. It’s not yet clear whether the slightly fuzzier, more meandering, narrative at the heart of Ogg ‘n’ Ugg ‘n’ Dogg will stick as well. There is no doubting however that the show captured her in the moment. As the first crucial steps are taken on her (hopefully) lifelong journey through the arts I can think of no one I trust more than Fideri Fidera to keep her engaged, entertained, and excited.

outstanding

StarStarStarStarStar

Reviewer: Dan Lentell (Seen 12 August)

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