Spotlight on : The Pianodrome

Once again, readers of this blog will know I love the magical, immersive space of the Pianodrome. Over the years it has travelled around various corners of the city, and this year it has found it’s home in the Old Royal High building….

The Pianodrome is such an incredible venue for any performance, a legendary 100 seater amphitheatre made entirely from upcycled pianos….it really is worth a visit in itself. And this year, the Old Royal High hosts a new space – the Tinderbox Grand Hall.

I have been lucky enough to visit for one of the free lunchtime concerts and it was bliss – and I’m sure now that the city has become a little busier, it is much more of a calm oasis, offering an antidote to some of the festival hecticness outside…lunchtime concerts are on between 1-2pm every day in August – full line up here.

Kids are included in the wider programme too:

First Piano On The Moon – For ages 5+ – 20/21st, 27/28th August – ‘William’s dream comes true, chosen to play at Mozart’s birthday celebrations. He’s piano-tricks aplenty to impress school friends, but the prestigious event is full of young prodigies playing proper pieces from memory. If only a genius like Mozart were on hand to guide William through the concert…

Otherwise, the summer resonancy programme is jam packed with events, including live music, performances, folk sessions, life drawing and much much more….

Film Fest In The City : 12th – 14th August

This almost passed me by and we are sad to be missing it as we’re away this weekend, but if you are able, this is always a treat in festival season, free outdoor film screenings at St Andrews Square – and miraculously it looks like it’ll be perfect weather to take a picnic blanket along and enjoy some entertainment !!

The full information is here on the website, and I’ve picked out the family friendly films below:

Friday 12 August

11.00 – Paddington (2014) -Everyone’s favourite bear in his first big screen adventure as he travels from deepest darkest Peru to London to try and find himself a new home.

13.00 – Fantastic Mr Fox (2009) -Filmmaker Wes Anderson guides an A-list cast in this stop-motion take on Roald Dahl’s classic book.

15.00 – Christopher Robin (2018) -Ewan McGregor stars as a now-grown-up Christopher Robin who is visited by Winnie the Pooh to help find his lost friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Saturday 13 August

11:00 – Brave (2012)-Follow Princess Merida as she forges her own path in Disney and Pixar’s journey into the mythical Scottish kingdom of DunBroch. Celebrating Scotland’s Stories on Screen. Pre-screening family entertainment, including face-painting.

13:00 – The Illusionist (2010)-Based on the story by Jacques Tati, this beautifully animated tale tells of a French illusionist who travels to Scotland, where he meets a young woman where their exciting adventures together change both their lives forever. Celebrating Scotland’s Stories on Screen. Pre-screening family entertainment.

15:30  –  Rob Roy (1922)-Join us for a special live musical performance by multi-instrumentalist David Allison to accompany this impressive 1922 classic film.

18:00 – Wall-E (2008) -An all singing, all dancing modern classic from Pixar.

Sunday 14 August

11:00 – Shrek (2001) -Join a whole host of fairy tale characters in this animated, tuneful and funny animated adventure.

13:00 – Big (1989) -Tom Hanks reconnects with his youth in this 80s family classic.

15:15 – Whip It (2009) -Get your skates on and join Babe Ruthless and the roller-derby team in this funny and quirky drama.

17:30 – The Farewell (2021)-A funny and uplifting tale of a family reconnecting with their past

19:45 – Twilight (2008)-Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in this everlasting teenage vampire romance.

First week highlights….2022

Wowee, it is sooooooooooooooooooo good to be back seeing live theatre and performances, what a TOTAL treat. We have been immensely lucky this week and have seen some fantastic shows (check out our reviews so far here), indulged in some delicious food and the sun has even been shining in Edinburgh during the festival so far…..the weather also seems delighted the festival is all back again!!!

The only slight disappointment is the hot donut stall – not sure what’s happened there, but they just aren’t what they used to be – so we’ve moved on to pastures new with ‘panquake’ for all your waffle and crepe desires and the dumplings stall which remains a firm family favourite !!

We have seen some spectacular circus, some seriously impressive dance, astounding magic, some spellbinding storytelling, magical puppet shows and very silly comedy…here are our top picks so far :

The Listies: Hamlet – Prince of Skidmark – Absolutely hilarious, if you only go and see one children’s show – this has to be it !!! An hour is too short !

.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings – Intricate and very creative set and with just enough of a dark edge to keep us totally engrossed, its highly recommended you take a seat and get settled in to this  intimate hour of captivating storytelling.

Tom Brace : Embrace the Impossible !– Full of properly astounding magic, a sprinkling of time travel and some game show madness with ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ – its a fantastic show and I would highly recommend

Manual Cinema presents: Leonardo! A Wonderful show about a terrible monster – Wowsers !! What a total treat of a show…jam packed full of creativity and talent, be it paper cut outs, furry puppets, illustrations or an endearingly quirky live soundtrack and songs.

Circus Abyssinia: Tulu – This is energetic, passionate and you’ll be totally awestruck by all the performers, expect contortionism, acrobatics, aerial, rollerskating and an incredible finale involving a giant swing !!

For the littler little ones, our mini reviewers have loved:

A Ladder To The Stars– So much care has been taken throughout this performance to really tune into a child’s mind – what they find funny and what fuels their imagination to keep them invested in the story.

The Smeds and The Smoos – Tall Stories once again delight us with their adaptation of a beloved Julia Donaldson book. Including catchy songs, gorgeous puppetry and audience interaction…not to be missed.

For the whole family, we’ve loved these two high octane shows – both have been breath-taking:

Muse – Flip Fabrique once again astound us with their fantastic acrobatics and with beautiful intimate moments and silly snippets inbetween – try and sit near the front if you can !!

Beats on Pointe – This show is filled with energy, passion and some seriously fantastic dance skills, not to mention the infectious soundtrack,,,you’ll enjoy it as much as the performers obviously love dancing !

Catch them while you can….

It feels like the fringe has only just got started, but some shows have limited days left to see them and finish up on Sunday 14th August, so be quick if you don’t want to miss out!…

I Piano – We have seen a previous version of this show – review here. And it’s in the most amazing venue of the Pianodrome which is worth a visit in itself. The piano has lost its music! But a little girl wants to help the piano find it again, and together they set off on a magical adventure. They meet a mad conductor in a mountain, a monk on a scooter at the North Pole and an octopus dancing on the bottom of the sea. With all three, they play games and hunt down clues, before at last finding the music in each other’s hearts. A beautiful, intimate performance….

Marcel Lucont: Les Enfants Terribles – A Gameshow for Awful Children – I have only seen Marcel in his adult shows and they are very very funny..so I expect the same will apply here! The UK’s favourite Frenchman channels his acerbic humour and quick-fire wit into a family gameshow, pitting children against adults and each other to try and find the most awful child. Come and experience what happens when international insouciance meets infantile exuberance, as children get to experience being politicians, pests and petomanes to win this badge of dishonour.

The Adventures of Bo Peep – Our mini-reviewer loved seeing this – full review here. Immerse yourself in the sights, smells and feel of the farm…. Counting sheep always sends Bo Peep off to sleep by bedtime, but with no sign of them yet she’ll be up all night searching. Bo Peep needs your help to save her little lambkins from danger! One for the younger ones age 2- 6…finishing up on Tuesday 16th August,

Book Festival 2022 : 13th – 29th August

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is opening this weekend and we’re very very excited. It’s an oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of the fringe, and the festival village at the art school is a great place to spend an afternoon….

You can look at the list of all the children’s events here – there are 150 events, activities and workshops for children and young adults. 

There are lots of ways to enjoy this year’s festivities: join at in-person to take in the great atmosphere, enjoy free screenings of live events on the big screen in the Courtyard, or watch online from the comfort of your own home.

The Book Festival Village at Edinburgh College of Art on Lauriston Place is open daily from 9.30am until late – entry is free. The Festival Bookshop located in the beautiful old Fire Station building stocks titles by all the visiting authors and has an area dedicated to children stacked to the rafters with hundreds of titles, from classic picture books for budding readers through to contemporary teen fiction.

There are free drop in events too – including :

  • Meet some of your favourite picture book characters! Head on down to the Courtyard to join animal friends Pip and Posy, meet the Gruffalo or embrace being who you are with Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. A picture book character will appear every Saturday and Sunday of the Festival, with details on when each is appearing here.
  • Join Festival favourites Sprog Rock as they create their own mini music festival on the outdoor Courtyard Stage! Live, interactive, lots of fun for babies and youngsters of all ages – and their family and friends. (Sat 27 Aug 10:00 – 11:00)
  • Storytelling panto dame Mama G, plus some very special guests, to the Courtyard Stage for stories and songs in this cheerful celebration of acceptance, inclusion and love suitable for all ages. (Sat 27 Aug 11:30 – 13:30)
  • From 22-26 August they’re bringing the outdoors inside in the Baillie Gifford Storytime Yurt with Woodland Wonderland. Immerse yourself in beautiful woodland décor, unwind with the ambient sounds of nature and relax in the glow of atmospheric lighting for a moment of calm amidst the Festival fun.
  • Visit Dr Book in the Book Festival Bookshop to discover your next great read! Drop in for a quick consultation and receive a reading prescription – tailored to your or your little one’s tastes – that will soothe all ills. (Tuesday 16 August 10:00 – 13:00)