The Castle Builder

Vic Llewellyn and Kid Carpet

Summerhall

From 03 August 2016 to 28 August 2016

Rating: *****

Review by Amy Yorston

Part lecture, part gig and part documentary, The Castle Builder is an imaginative exploration of "outsider artists": those who create art simply because they can and they want to.

Vic Llewellyn and Kid Carpet enthusiastically bounce around the stage excited about their own show but one suspects even more excited about the work that they are introducing to a slightly baffled but eager audience.

The piece opens with Vic taking an axe and smashing up a chair whilst Kid sings about it backed by an old electronic keyboard. Vic later chews up bread to make sculptures, dances with a cardboard box on his head and encourages the audience to sing whilst sitting in the dark lit only by the light from their 'phone.

It sounds chaotic and is indeed deliciously ramshackle but asks serious questions about art, identity and the creative spirit. The piece is carefully workshopped, each projected slide introducing us to a different builder of castles, a different human story and a different view of the world.

At one point, Kid sings, “is art only good if it's being collected?” challenging the audience to engage with their own creative spirit. In the same song, he asks what traces we’ve left and who's been affected reinforcing the idea that art is all about making connections—even if the connection is only between art and artist.

While the two men present their show in the foreground, at the back of the stage is an invited "maker" who carefully takes the discarded chair and makes something new. It's a different artist each night creating before our very eyes, because they can and they want to.

This is a joyous show demonstrating that it's often more important for people with the spirit of creativity to find an outlet than an audience. Creation without the aim of validation is a beautiful thing and The Castle Builder celebrates all these outsider artists in a boisterous and innovative way.