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….

 

Bureau Of Untold Stories…returning for another investigation

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If you missed out on this last year – then you are in for a treat – The Bureau Of Untold Stories is returning to the Fringe for it’s longest run yet from 12th August ! We really enjoyed being part of the investigation last year and would encourage all other young adventurers to go along and check it out…(read our review here )…

The intrepid inspectors of ‘The Bureau Of Untold Stories’ will return to the Museum of Childhood, on Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, to launch an investigation into the world’s missing stories as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from August 12, 2019.

The family friendly production follows the escapades of two detectives as they attempt to track down a notorious criminal mastermind, known simply as The Eraser. Using outrageous accents, live sound effects, some unconventional storytelling skills, and the ridiculous suggestions and ideas of the Bureau’s newest recruits; the audience, ‘The Bureau Of Untold Stories’ sees performers Sean and Hollie Bryan create a series of entirely original tales throughout the sixty minute duration of the piece.

“Innovative, imaginative and importantly fun – this is one mystery you will love helping to solve!…”

Pleasance Kidzone… 2019

Image The wonderful Pleasance kidzone has returned…and it’s as great as ever – offering lots of arts and crafts at very reasonable prices, providing picnic tables, a coffee and cake stall and new for this year – a rather yummy ice cream kiosk !! What more could we ask for ??

My daughter spent around two hours painting a beautiful candle holder – whilst I managed to sit in the sun with a beer and contemplate all the great shows the Pleasance has on offer for the kids this year- total win !!

A trip to the Kidzone can be combined with seeing one or two of the brilliant children’s shows at the Pleasance this year – they have 23 this year for us to choose from, so there is bound to be something for everyone !! Some top picks are :

The Listies : Ickypedia – The Listies are back – they are silly, hilarious and superbly awesome. You may just learn a few new words along the way too! Don’t miss this show….

 

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!

Mustard Doesn’t Go With Girls – This production seeks to poke fun at fairy tales from the past whilst creating new storylines for the young generation of today. Once definitely worth checking out…

 

One Duck Down – One Duck Down. 7000 rubber ducks. Seven Seas. One big adventure! An environmentalist tale set to inspire the little ones..

 

Rave And Behave – Come help Bella and Blue on their quest to become legends before lunchtime in this interactive sound journey. A must-see for all the mischievous music makers in your family.

First day….

We had a super fantastic first day, and loved getting fully immersed in festival fever again!! This is going to be a great few weeks !!

Our first stop was to the wonderful Summerhall to see Sparkle, we loved this gentle adventure of the first days at school and the trials and tribulations that unfold..definitely recommend this for an uplifting start to your morning !!

We squeezed in some exploring in Summerhall and a quick visit to the enchanting Swallow The Sea Caravan Theatre, before seeing the epic fairytale of Troll – Trick of the Light theatre always produce the most compelling, captivating stories , with such imaginative, creative puppetry and sets – this was no exception ! It is only on until the 11th of August – so get yourselves to see it quick !

As some of you may know, no visit to the fringe these days is without the possibility of hot cinnamon donuts – and a collective sigh of relief was had by all when we popped by George Square Gardens to check the stall has returned…and…

Last up, we went to see Blizzard which was awesomely spectacular and left us all on a high – fantastic acrobatics with very funny and silly snippets inbetween – try and sit near the front if you can !!

Elsewhere, our new mini, mini reviewer was getting immersed in the world of Fox-Tot! and loving the sensory set and getting to play with the autumnal leaves…

And so it begins….

Wow…so August festival season has started with a bang ! Two days in and I’m three press launches down and in need of a serious good night’s sleep ! But it’s been so much fun – and from all the amazing, varied snippets of shows I’ve been lucky to see, this fringe is going to be fantastic !!

First up was the Underbelly launch and I know this is a blog about kid’s events, but we loved the compere – Rhys Nicholson – and I would definitely check his show out if you can!

Other highlights included :

  • Basil Brush – He popped in for a quick visit, which delighted everyone !! He will be here with songs, stories and more for the whole family !
  • Magical Bones – I think this guy would be great for older children, and anyone keen to see magic and some impressive acrobatics combined !
  • Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo – we were met by one of the dinosaur’s from this show outside and it was incredible – kids are going to LOVE it….

Next up Assembly worked more of their magic in the beautiful Assembly Hall venue….Frisky and Manish were compering and sharing some musical delights…

  • Blizzard – I was already SO excited to see this after the awesome Attrape Moi last year – and the brief preview we got to see did not disappoint !!
  • Morgan and West – Yay ! We love these guys and this year their quick witted humour is working it’s magic on science and the glimpse we got was great !!
  • La Galerie – Bringing humour to circus and seamlessly taking the audience with them – I’m keen to see the whole show as the glimpse we got wasn’t nearly enough!

Lastly, the List party was lots of fun, and Summerhall the perfect venue – I love exploring all the corridors and walkways….

Image result for swallow the sea caravan theatre………and if you’re lucky enough you will find the amazing Swallow The Sea caravan this year – parked in the Summerhall courtyard. Bringing you an escape from the norm and plunging audiences into a different world. Shadow and tabletop puppetry, object theatre, poetry, installation and live soundscape give a rare opportunity to experience intimate all-immersive theatre in the tiniest of settings with the smallest of audiences. It is totally worth going to Summerhall just to see the caravan, let alone all the other shows being hosted there !