Blimey, this year, choosing my top picks has been even more difficult than before – we are blessed with hundreds of fantastic shows every year, and they all look so good !!!
It’s overwhelming and incredibly exciting all at the same time…I am certain each year my top picks gets bigger, and this year I’ve struggled even to whittle it down to ten…and as before, I’ll cheat a little by putting some of my other favourites in a feature about shows for littler little ones I will post later. I’m almost tempted to do a whole separate Kids Circus top picks too as that genre keeps expanding and this year, there are more circus shows for children and families than ever before !
I’ll start with an firm favourite company of mine and with only a few performances, it looks like you should get in quick ! :
- How To Spot An Alien – Paines Plough have brought some of my total festival highlights these last few years in their unique Roundabout venue situated at Summerhall. I’m hoping this show will bring some of the same imaginative, magic storytelling – What do you do if you think your aunt is an alien? Twelve-year-old Jelly and her brother Jonjo have their suspicions. She won’t let them leave the house. Or ask questions. And she definitely won’t let them in the attic. Join Jelly and Jonjo on their quest to discover the truth in a rip-roaring adventure through space full of friendship, fun and flying saucers. 4th/5th, 11th/12th, 18th/19th and 25th/26th August
- The Bear – It may be because I’m biased as my daughter is called Tilly, and so I love this book so much, but I can’t wait to see this show. I’ve seen some pictures on twitter and think everyone may just fall a little bit in love with this big bear ! One night when she’s fast asleep, an enormous white bear climbs into Tilly’s bedroom. It has a big black tongue and a yawn as big as your head. But Tilly’s not scared. 1st – 27th August (not 20th )
- Circa: Wolfgang – Following their huge success with Humans last year, Circa are bringing a children’s circus show to the Fringe this year and I literally cannot wait to see it ! Circa are so extremely talented, weaving acrobatics, strength, circus and humour together effortlessly and I am sure this show mixing these talents with Mozart’s music will be a winner ! Straight from the score and onto the stage, the man known as Mozart appears amidst a puff of powder, wigged and ready to throw musical madness into a crescendo of dives, swoops and twirls. Featuring mischievous acrobats and musicians, Wolfgang reinvents the composer’s magical music with circus twists. 4th-7th, 9th-12th, 14th – 19th, 21st – 25th August
- Duckie -This looks great – delivering some powerful messages along the way – on for a limited run so catch it while you can! Duckie is a reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling with a message of tolerance and self acceptance at its core. Family-friendly glamour and glitz takes centre stage as critically acclaimed cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat breaks out of his shell in his first work for children, a classic tale of identity and belonging. Set in an animal circus, we join him on an adventure of self-discovery, asking questions of the ‘happy ever after’ in a celebration of difference. Walking a little differently? Sounding a bit strange? Watch Duckie triumph by realising these are his strengths. 1st – 12th (not 2nd)
- Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams – One of our total surprise highlights from last year ! – we LOVED this vibrant, high energy circus show last year (read our full review here ). An unashamedly joyful mix of astonishing stunts and enchanted adventure, Circus Abyssinia follows the journey of two Ethiopian brothers whose dream of joining the circus became a reality. Plunged into a world of daredevil wonders, they encounter a host of other circus dreamers: dancing, contorting, gravity-defying figures, all weaving tales of their own. 4th – 25th August (not 13th and 20th )
- Splash Test Dummies – Woo hoo !! I’d heard the murmurings of this show last year and am delighted we are being treated to an aquatic themed show with the trio of lovely Dummies this year following the Trash Test fun ! Splash Test Dummies are here, ready to roll out their beach towels and spring into a brand-new hour of circus-filled hilarity for the whole family. See a brilliant array of catch-your-breath stunt work, acrobatics, juggling and the side-splitting, slapstick comedy for which the Dummies are famous. 4th – 25th August (not 13th )
- Ellie and the Enormous Sneeze – If you were lucky enough to catch Dr. Zeiffal, Dr Zeigal and the Hippo that can never be caught last year then you’ll know the kind of brilliant and creative shows Mouths of Lions produce. This year’s offering looks equally bonkers ! ‘A sneeze is a powerful thing, a dangerous thing, you never know what might happen with a sneeze…’ Join Ellie on a wild snot-filled adventure as she sets out to help her friend Stanley to sneeze for the very first time. 2nd – 27th August (not 14th and 21st )
- AnimAlphabet: The Musical – Returning with last year’s musical extravaganza, this comes highly recommended. Read our review here – its a captivating, colourful show with a fab soundtrack. Join Colin the Country Cockatoo, Hip-Hop Donkey and Geoff the Geordie Jazz Giraffe on a fantastic family musical adventure. 1st – 27th August (not 13th )
- The Showstoppers’ Kids Show – Fringe favourites and Olivier Award-winning improvisers, The Showstoppers, take your kids’ ideas and transform them on the spot into interactive musical adventures. Harry Potter in space? Done! Dora and the Gruffalo meet dinosaurs under the sea? No worries! Kids (and only kids!) decide who we meet and where we go to create a show tailor-made to their imaginations. 1st – 19th August
- Reversible – If you can cast your mind back to 2015, you’ll remember the breathtakingly brilliant show Traces ?? Well- the performance group 7 Fingers return with this unique, riveting mix of theatre, circus, dance, music and acrobatics. A reversible world where everyday life is turned upside down into new, spectacular universes filled with beauty, emotion and yes, hope. Imagine your grandparents and what they lived through when they were your age. Reversible is dedicated to a generation who forged the world that we live in today and whose stories might hold the key to a better tomorrow. 2nd – 26th August (not 8th, 13th or 20th )