Catch them while you can……ending 18th August

So, once again a few shows seem to have a slightly shorter run within the fringe, finishing on the 18th August, so you’ve only got another handful of chances to see them, our top recommendations are :

image of eventThe Listies: Ickypedia –DON’T MISS THIS SHOW – it’s brilliant for both kids and adults, super funny, super silly and super entertaining….

 

The Showstoppers' Kids Show The Showstoppers’ Kids Show – These champions of Improvisation are back and no two shows will ever be the same – expect some whacky stories as the kids come up with all the ideas!

image of eventValentina’s Galaxy – Fantastic space adventure full of interaction and a beautifully crafted set…

 

 

image of eventLittle Top – Fantastic circus fun for the very wee ones !! Lots of opportunity to get involved….

 

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Shows for slightly ‘older’ children…

So, last year, we had a guest reviewer on this website who started to explore the slightly under-catered for and under-represented older children’s/teenage shows. There seems to be hundreds of shows for children, getting their own section of the Fringe programme, but these cater really for the under 12’s….and only a handful even really are aimed for older children within that broad age range….

So what about the teenage market ? If you are trying to negotiate the Fringe programme with children this age, it can get quite tricky. Some circus shows are fantastic for all ages, then they start to have age restrictions and its hard to know exactly why – is it the humour, the nudity, any sexual jokes perhaps ?? Comedy has the same challenges, will they understand the material used?- as does theatre – and of course each teenager will be different with what content they can enjoy or understand.

This year, we have tried to review even more shows within this category, and it’s been great – to distinguish these from other children’s/family shows we are reviewing – I’ve put their age ratings in brackets by the reviews, so you know before reading the review that it’s specifically for older children. It’s still very much a work in progress and something we’d like to dedicate a bit more time to – how to cater for this market – if anyone knows of companies creating work with this age group in mind, we’d be really keen to hear about it.

For now, the shows we’ve explored so far are :

First Week Highlights 2019

Phew..we have been super bus this week and have crammed in ALOT of shows…we have also managed to have many ice-creams, some hot donuts and spent some great creative time in the Pleasance Kidzone making shrinkies and tea-light holders….

We have seem some spectacular circus, hilarious comedy and seriously impressive storytelling….some of our top picks this last week have been :

image of eventThe Listies: Ickypedia – If you go and see one children’s show- make it this one ! Hilarious, messy fun…you won’t be disappointed.

 

image of event360 Allstars – For high octane, fast paced impressive tricks, this is the show for you ! Basketball tricks, break dancing, cyr wheel, beat boxing and more…

 

image of eventMorgan and West: Unbelievable Science – For all science enthusiasts out there – they will amaze you with some optical illusions and their usual trickery. Highly entertaining.

 

image of eventSplash Test Dummies – They are lovable, silly and very very funny ! Baywatch style lifesaving, beach volleyball and synchronised swimming all get a Dummies makeover !

 

image of eventTroll – Only on until the 11th August -a  compelling, captivating story , with such  imaginative, creative puppetry and set.

 

For the little ones, we loved:

image of eventFox- tot ! – Multi-sensory adventure where your wee one can get fully involved meeting the playful characters and listening to the beautiful music.

 

For the whole family, we’ve loved these two circus shows – both have been breathtaking:

image of eventBlizzard – fantastic acrobatics with very funny and silly snippets inbetween – try and sit near the front if you can !!

 

image of eventBackbone – Evocative, astoundingly beautiful – stunning acrobatics made to look so graceful and effortless  imaginative sequences and use of limited props and incredible laser lighting that our mini reviewers especially loved !

 

 

 

 

Book Festival 2019 Opens this weekend….

Image result for edinburgh international book festival 2019Festival season is in full swing, personally it feels likes it’s been going for weeks already – and yet another one opens this weekend – it is truly exhausting !!  The Edinburgh International Book Festival – bringing with it a host of fantastic events, free arts and crafts activities, two beautiful bookshops and a gorgeous space to hang out in Charlotte Square…it is also a very tranquil oasis away from the hecticness of the Fringe and I highly recommend it simply for the change of scenery and pace alone !!

There are lots of free arts and crafts activities every day in the fabulous Story Box area and the opening weekend has the following brilliant sounding drop-in events :

50 Years of The Very Hungry Caterpillar50 Years of the Very Hungry Caterpillar Both Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August 11.00am – 4.30pm  Feeling peckish? Celebrate 50 years of Eric Carle’s classic picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by dropping into Story Box for lots of exciting colouring and craft activities inspired by the much-loved tale. You might even get the chance to meet the greedy insect himself.

Join the Super Power AgencyJoin The Super Power AgencyBoth Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August 11.00am – 4.30pm : Super Power Agency Bus On George Street.  Hop aboard the Super Power Agency Bus and become a literacy superhero! Special agents show you how to take a book out of your head and onto the page, where it can change the world, with fun bookmaking and storytelling activities.

Full listings of all the free events for children and young people can be found here ….enjoy!

 

What makes certain shows so special ?

Barely one week in, and I’m not sure that I would call it fringe fatigue as such, but I am aware that it can be hugely overwhelming seeing so many  spectacular shows in such a short space of time that it can make reviewing shows really tricky…

I am so incredibly grateful that I live on the doorstep of the world’s largest, most impressive and eclectic arts festival. I have to constantly remind myself that this month of seeing so much world class talent is pretty rare, and try and rate each individual show on its own merits and on its own unique style. This becomes difficult I find, once we have seen a few circus or physical theatre shows and I catch myself sometimes looking at someone standing on someone’s head, or performing a intricate aerial trick and not having the awestruck wonder that others may be experiencing.

Tonight I found myself seated infront of some amazingly talented performers and I was almost bored. I can totally appreciate the skill, the effort and time that has gone into making the production – and I was questioning what was making me feel this way – have I seen too many shows ? Am I suffering fatigue ? Am I overloaded ? Then I realised it’s as much about what energy the performers are giving out as they are taking –  what makes a show special is the ability of the audience to give and receive, and connect with the performers on any level. Much of the magic of the fringe is the smaller venues, or the spaces that allow lines to be crossed. Tonight’s performance was slick and uber professional but also felt cold- interaction was lacking, smiles appeared forced and I felt like I could have been any old face, sat amongst the viewers – which infact I was.

The beauty of much of the children’s theatre and circus we have been seeing this past week is that the boundaries between audience and performer are fluid – they are pretty much crossed in every show I’ve seen. Children are invited to shout out, to get on stage, share their ideas, sing songs – performers run through the audience, spray us with water, ask us our names…..the energy is shared, performers smile – if something is tricky – you can see the concentration on their faces – if something goes wrong, they try it again. Spontaneous heckling from a child is fully embraced and celebrated. That’s what I love, that’s what makes this all so special…

I admit it’s easier in a children’s show to share the energy, and some genre’s obviously lend themselves to the blurring of boundaries also, but it’s the simple smiles, the touches of humour, the personalities shining through – that’s what makes a show special, the performers who feel like friends….