Toy Story with a difference as this drama has a long shelf life
ITS stars are straight out of a toy box but they're not cuddly or sweet. These are embittered toys, long forgotten by the kids who once played with them.
There's the misunderstood monster, who always hated playing the bad guy, and a doll with an identity crisis, cast and recast as everything from a witch to a grandma to an evil enchantress.
Hand-Me Down People is a play that the drama kings and queens from the University of Nottingham's New Theatre are taking to the Edinburgh Festival this weekend.
It has been billed as "a dark Toy Story," but its writer, Adam H Wells, says there is a lot to enjoy. "There are light-hearted moments," he says.
"It's not all doom and gloom. There is a lot in there that's uplifting, like the fact that they continue to act out the stories that the children used to tell with them many, many years ago.
"We've put it as a PG for Edinburgh, and I wouldn't be surprised to see families there. There's something in it for everyone."
Life for the dusty collection of toys is shaken up by the arrival of a new girl in town: 1990s glamour girl Barbie.
"She's put on the shelf but she's convinced it's not the end of her life as a toy," says Adam."
"But as she spends more time with the other figurines, she becomes more and more convinced that the shelf represents the end of any interest the children have in her."
The 50-minute performance will be just one aspect of the cast and crew's time at the annual arts festival; they'll need to recruit audiences.
"We'll be walking up and down the city's Royal Mile day after day. That's the bit that people don't really look forward to about Edinburgh.
"We'll be giving out in excess of 10,000 flyers – rain or shine.
"But what's nice is that every other show is also out on the Mile. So you get talking to them, find out about their show – they come to yours, you go to theirs."
The festival runs from August 3 to 27.
"Edinburgh is a unique place during the Fringe," says Adam. "There's nowhere else in the world that you get that much drama in one place. In a day you can see an improvised musical, then something by Shakespeare performed completely abstractly, a new piece of student writing and some late-night comedy.
"The range of things to see up there is just incredible."
And remember, if you see a monster with one arm and a music box walking the streets, don't worry – it's just a couple of Nottingham students." If you're heading to Edinburgh and want to see Hand-Me Down People, details are available at: edfringe.com.