First week highlights 2018

Wowee, it’s been a VERY busy first week indeed, even slightly longer than a week as we squeezed some preview days in ! I feel like it’s been a month already…
We have seen some WONDERFUL shows, really enjoyed hanging out at the Pleasance Kidzone too and making some shrinkies, loved the hot donuts and the delicious ice cream stall next to it in Assembly gardens and all the brilliant street performers – some great bubble guys along middle meadow walk most days !

In terms of shows, we’ve been blown away by some great family circus, enjoyed musical delights and some spellbinding storytelling – highlights have been :

Duckie – A mesmerising musical show by the fabulous Le Gateau Chocolat, a reimagining of the Ugly Duckling that is all about realising your own inner strengths and beauty – just beautiful.

Arr We There Yet ? – A total treat of an hour – pirates, sea shanties, swashbuckling sword fighting fun and lots of impressive acrobatics !! Add to the mix some silly puns and its entertaining for the whole family ! Climb aboard and enjoy the fun…

Chores – Messy, silly circus for littlies ! Two brothers are set the challenge of tidying their room with hilarious consequences…fast paced, frantic and fun !

Splash Test Dummies – The Dummies are back with a fabulous splish splashing adventure ! Baywatch style lifesaving, beach volleyball and synchronised swimming all get a Dummies makeover !

The Bear – Beautiful puppetry makes this enchanting show even more captivating – lovely songs, a great ever changing set and a gentle story perfect for wee ones..

Wilde Creatures – Tall Stories return with a musical tale, looking at what qualities would make someone fit for a town statue – Intelligence ? Beauty ? Generosity ? Oscar Wilde’s lesser known fairy tales get a spectacular outing in this storytelling gem !

And finally our winner of the week, that the whole family LOVED :

Attrape Moi – Spellbinding circus tricks, giant trampolines, ice pop fun – there’s a little bit of everything in this show – the kids mouths were hanging open in wonder !!! Best to see it for yourselves !

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First day…

Phew..we’ve been super busy and have got fully immersed in festival fever already ! Our first full day out and about was lots of fun and we zipped about town on our bikes, soaking up the atmosphere and planning lots more festival adventures….

Our first stop was to see the fantastic Showstoppers Kids’ Show – we really enjoyed this one, especially the interactiveness of it and the cast had us up and dancing a ‘poo dance’ and other various madcap things !! It looks like this is starting to sell out again like in previous years, so make sure you book !

Whilst at the Pleasance we stopped in at the wonderful Kidzone and the kids got stuck in making shrinkie keyrings – they’ve got lots of templates as usual and a wide variety of very reasonably priced arts and crafts activities and free colouring in too ! They even take suggestions, so my son was delighted that someone had been in the day before asking about Ninjago templates and there were already two for him to choose from (there may be a few more too next week after our chat with them yesterday !!)…

Next up we whizzed to Summerhall to check out the delightful Duckie ! An extremely charming reimagining of the story of The Ugly Duckling, which opens up some important conversations about self acceptance and inclusion – some great song choices too ! Leaving Summerhall on a high note, we were super happy to see the return of the ‘hot donut’ stall in George Square gardens….

A short trip to the High Street to watch some fun street performers doing magic, lead us nicely to our final destination of the day – Assembly to watch the spectacular Attrape Moi – we were blown away by this. Absolute jaw dropping, mesmerising acrobatics, juggling, hula hooping and even trampolining !!! We loved every second…….

…….and then home to relax ! And for the kids to start practising for their grand plan of running away with the circus…..

 

Amazing Assembly….

Image result for assembly edinburgh festival

Image result for assembly helter skelterAssembly have kicked things off with a bang this year ! We were lucky enough to attend the Assembly Gala last night and we LOVED every minute – Assembly have brought some fantastic programming to the Fringe this year, added even more venues and let’s not forget about the rather fun helter skelter on George Street so we can all ‘sip and slide’ !!!

The gala was a sensational showcase of some of the brilliant shows Assembly are hosting over this festival – and such an awe inspiring reminder of the breadth of acts and performers we are being treated to and the wide variety of talents !! We saw jugglers, cabaret stars, acrobats, comedians and clowns! I know this blog is for the kids events, but it’s nice to add a few top tips for all the parents too if any of you are lucky enough to get a night out ! …

  • The fabulous Le Gateau Chocolat – what a fab compere, we were crying with laughter and what a voice ! I’m super excited for his kids show Duckie, but I’m going to make sure I get along to see Icons too – it’ll be fantastic !
  • I was super excited to see the return of Lady Rizo who I’d seen a few years ago in the upstairs of the old forest cafe, and been utterly captivated by her voice and presence – she wowed the crowd last night and her show is set to wow too !!
  • I missed The Choir Of Man last year but can see why it was something of a hit – high energy, feel good and sing-a-long-able too…I can imagine my nine year old daughter enjoying it alot !!

And not forgetting of course, the showcase piece from 7 Fingers with Reversible, which we went along and saw tonight. Much gentler and more evocative than their hit show Traces back in 2015, Reversible is a journey of remembering- family, friends and loved ones and reflecting on what they’ve given to the young people who flip, dance, juggle, hoop and spin themselves around the stage. A simple set and fantastic lighting, with dramatic shadows filling the huge venue add to the ambience of the piece and let the raw talent and skill of the performers shine. Moments of humour and high energy acrobatics add energy to the performance and balance emotions out ! It was particularly great to hear the front row, consisting of mainly children giggle wildly at a somewhat harassed looking bride squeezing herself out of the smallest of spaces and wriggling about the floor  – I’d highly recommend seeing it yourself !

The very best thing of all is the generosity Assembly have shown in the locals discount – it’s great that one of the venues is taking this approach and making themselves far more accessible for everyone….the locals discount only last till the 5th August so get in there quick and snap them up !!

My Top Ten Children’s Shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018…

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 )