My Top Ten Children’s Shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019

As always, I really struggle to whittle down the fantastic array of children’s shows to a concise ‘top ten recommendations’ – in 2019 we are being treated yet again to a growing number of brilliant and entertaining shows aimed at the younger audience. When I first started reviewing, the choice was much smaller, and now there are literally hundreds to choose from, covering all genres including musicals, magic, circus and theatre….

The abundance of shows makes this task difficult, but as before, I will do a top ten for ‘littler little ones’ which gives me some more room to pick some firm favourites ! I’d like to also explore the slightly older, almost ‘teen’ category a bit more this year, and I am bringing in a new ‘not so mini- reviewer’ to assist with this in August !- so do please get in touch if you’re working on something for older children that you think we should be seeing !!

I get that tingly exciting feeling in my stomach when writing this as I’m so excited for August and all the amazing theatrical experiences it will bring….

I’ll start with an firm favourite company of mine and with only a few performances, it looks like you should get in quick ! :

image of eventDexter And Winter’s Detective Agency – Paines Plough have brought some of my absolute festival highlights over the years in their unique Roundabout venue situated at Summerhall. I’m hoping this show will bring some of the same imaginative, magic storytelling that really does blow me away !!  ”When Dexter’s mum is sent to jail for getting mixed up in a jewellery robbery, it’s up to Dexter and his best friend Winter to get her out. On their journey to uncover the truth and free mum, their detective work leads them to some surprising discoveries. ”                 3/4th, 11th/12th, 17th/18th, 24th/25th August

 

image of eventChildren Are Stinky – Yay !! These guys are back – we LOVED this show when we saw it (check our review here)….they will surely bring their madcap, hilarious, mischievous magic back to the Piccolo tent this August – and it’s up to you to prove them wrong that children are infact stinky – are you up to the challenge ?? ”Expect daredevil stunts, incredible acrobatics, lightning-fast hula hoops and loads of laughs”  1st – 26th August (not 7th/14th/21st) 

 

image of eventThe Listies: Ickypedia – We are DELIGHTED that the Listies are returning to Edinburgh this year !!!!!!! Our mini-reviewers still talk about their last show ALOT (review here )…and we listen to their CD in the car on repeat it feels !! This new shows looks like it will be more of their same hilarious, silly and slightly bonkers entertainment !  ”Australia’s kidult comedians are back with a new show filled with trademark bottom-waggling anarchy! Based on The Listies best-smelling book, Ickypedia aims to answer all of life’s unimportant questions, like: How do you take a smellfie? What are udderpants?* How many bubble machines are too many? What’s the Snot Ness Monster? What happens if you never ever clean your room?”   31st July – 18th August

 

image of eventBlizzard – Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay………….Flip Fabrique are back to weave some more magic into our lives – Attrape Moi last year was a total, total highlight of the fringe for us and we are beyond excited to see what they have to offer this year with Blizzard !! ”What if winter has taken over? With Blizzard, Flip Fabrique take you on a crazy, poetic and gentle journey in the dead of winter, and invite you to lose yourself in a moment of complete wonder. ”  1st – 26th August (not 7th, 12th, 19th)

 

image of eventMustard Doesn’t Go With Girls – I really appreciate shows with a strong female lead or narrative, and this year we have plenty to choose from – this musical number looks like it will deliver – being billed as a feminist fairy tale with an original soundtrack ! The piece follows a young girl with a passion for science as she goes up against a society which believes girls should only be seen, never heard.  ”When the children of Bow-on-Tie start mysteriously disappearing, Abigail decides to investigate further. She embarks on a music-filled adventure to uncover the town’s secrets, topple the cabinet of treacherous animals in charge and prove girls are made of more than just sugar and spice.”  31st July – 23rd August (not 13th )

 

image of eventMorgan and West: Unbelievable Science – We are big fans of Morgan and West and the mini-reviewers always enjoy their magic tricks and illusions …so we are excited to see they have a new show for the festival this year  – and something a bit different as they are bringing scientific experiments this time !! ”Unbelievable Science is an interactive science show for the whole family, where experiments take place right before your eyes! Captivating chemistry! Phenomenal physics! Bonkers biology! Magicians, time-travellers and all-round spiffing chaps Morgan & West have a secret past – they are genuine, bona-fide, legitimately qualified scientists and now are bringing their knowledge to the stage! ”  31st July – 25th August (not 21st)

 

One Duck Down – With the school strikes for climate, and the increase in climate action, it is unsurprising that this year, quite a few shows are featuring an environmental message or using sustainable props and costumes -One Duck Down is one of these shows doing just that, and it looks like it’ll be inspiring for any environmentalists out there –  ” 7000 rubber ducks. Seven Seas. One big adventure! Inspired by a true tale (featured on Blue Planet II) that saw 7000 rubber ducks cast adrift in a mighty storm, jam packed with music, clowning and puppetry and with a set and props which are recycled from the lost and found of rubbish both on land and at sea, join us on an ocean clear-up adventure that would make David Attenborough proud.”      31st July – 26th August (not 20th)

 

image of eventThe Showstoppers Kid’s Show – This is another firm favourite of ours – a fully improvised show so you have no idea where it’ll go next !! ”Fringe favourites and Olivier Award-winning improvisers, The Showstoppers, take your kids’ ideas and transform them on the spot into interactive musical adventures. Captain Underpants underwater? Done! SpongeBob and the Gruffalo on the moon? No worries! Kids (and only kids!) decide who we meet and where we go to create a show tailor-made to their imaginations.”  31st July – 18th August

 

image of eventSparkle – I’m hoping this show may be a little like the fabulous Duckie last year .. bringing with it a powerful message about identity, choices and being your full true self. ”Sparkle, who loves to dress in tutus, tiaras and sparkly dresses, finds on his first day of school that not everyone wants to let him shine. In this playful and poignant show, Sparkle discovers the magnificence of standing up for himself and being unique – even in his own sparkly slippers.”    31st July – 25th August (not 12th/19th)

 

image of eventErth’s Dinosaur Zoo – This looks like it will be spectacular and totally not to be missed for any young dinosaur fans out there !! Erth’s dinosaur puppets walk, roar and blink at audiences and they are unmistakably ‘alive’ and keen to play! ”Get right up close and personal with an amazing array of prehistoric creatures, from baby dinos to some of the largest carnivores and herbivores that have ever walked the planet. Erth’s dinosaurs are unmistakably “alive” and mostly friendly in this fun, educational and original performance, connecting young audiences to the real science of palaeontology.”  31st July – 26th August (not 12th ) 

 

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Final week !!!!

Gosh, August is flying by and soon we’ll be saying goodbye to the hundreds of shows and the cool circus tents until next year…sniff. But, luckily there is still time to squeeze in a few shows and events this week. Here are some top recommendations ! :

The BBC tent is still open until Friday 25th. Events this week for families include :

Sparkle Arts - Under the SeaSparkle Arts – Under the Sea (Ages 2-6) Tues 22nd August 10.45am – 11.30am / 11.45-12.30pm

Make sure you have your swimming kit and goggles with you, because today we’re going on an ‘Under the Sea’ adventure. During this class, the magical rainbow fish introduces children to all her mystical sea friends including Sally the Seahorse and Christopher the Crab. Find out more

Book BugBookbug (Ages 0-4)  23rd August: 10.30am – 11.15am / 12 noon -12.45pm and 25th August: 10.30am – 11.15am / 12 noon -12.45pm

Sing along with traditional nursery songs and action rhymes in an event hosted by Edinburgh City Libraries. Find out more

Volcano Day: Geology RocksVolcano Day: Geology Rocks (All ages) Thurs 24th August: 10.30am – 4.30pm

Come explore the Earth and learn about the world we live in. Erupt a volcano or become a paleontologist and discover your own fossil. Fun for all the family courtesy of the University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences.   Find out more

Great shows to check out :

Dr. Zeiffal, Dr. Zeigal and The Hippo That Can Never Be Caught – We loved this show, it’s engaging and quirky and again with plenty of interaction, with the audience wearing their Hippo google goggles and assisting in the search of the elusive Hippo !!  On until the 28th..

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….On until the 26th

Circus Abyssinia – This was soooooooooo fun !! A great family friendly circus show, with plenty of colour and energy, spectacular pole acrobatics, crazy contortion-ism and lots lots more !  ….On until 26th …

The Road That Wasn’t There – Wonderful, immersive storytelling with dark edges….a beautiful tale of adventures and maps, with a haunting soundtrack, intricate puppets and lots of mystery !  …  On until the 27th…

Morgan and West’s : More Magic For Kids which we loved , you can read the review here – they are such a fantastic duo, charming the audience with their wit and had the children non stop giggling with their rather silly magic ! I’d definitely recommend it , but like last year, it was busy so get tickets early !   …On until the 27th…

China Goes Pop ! Again I would suggest getting tickets early as the queue was massive !! It was very quirky and very fun, with some amazing acrobatics, an infectious pop soundtrack and lots of very smiley, happy performers bringing us an hour of hoops, scooters, circus and hats !! …On until the 27th…

AnimAlphabet the Musical – We really enjoyed this – one for the littler ones, with plenty of music, song and dance and great animal costumes and puppets….On until the 28th…

 

And not forgetting our old favourites from last year !!! :

Trash Test Dummies – These guys are a firm favourite with my family – dustbins, acrobatics and much silliness ! What more do you need ? (read  review  here)…On until the 26th..

Children Are Stinky – Children are also scaredy cats, lazy, unimaginative and uncoordinated in this madcap hour of acrobatic fun with loveable Australian clown duo ‘Kylie and Jason’. We loved this show last year (see here ), so if you missed it, do do check it out. Expect daredevil stunts, incredible acrobatics, lighting-fast hula hoops, loads of laughs and mischievous fun …On until the 28th…

And if all that wasn’t enough, there is still time to check out our favourite hot donut stall in Assembly George Square Gardens too !!!

Final weekending…

So,…it’s been a jam packed few weeks and here we are, ready for the final weekend of the Fringe, and we’ve got the Portobello Big Beach Busk on Saturday 27th, the Book festival is still going strong and the Edinburgh Art Festival is finishing on Sunday too….so many choices ! If you’re still thinking of cramming in a few more shows, now’s the time to do it !

My final ten recommendations of shows still on this weekend would be :

  • The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad– Absolutely fantastic show, dealing with loss and the big feelings that surround this. Gentle, beautiful and brave…last show 28th August.
  • Children Are Stinky – Very fun and silly acrobatic and clown show from a lovable Australian Duo – featuring hula hoops, chairs and a fantastic soundtrack, lots of fun for the whole family !  Last show 29th..
  • 360 Allstars – Featuring some spectacular BMX tricks, brilliant basketball, impressive breakdancing and live beat-boxing – this show has something for everyone ! A jam packed hour of talented performers showing off their skills ! Last show on 29th…
  • Shark In The Park – Really enjoyable adaptation of the very popular books….featuring lots of singing, puppets and surprises. Last show on the 29th …
  • Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones – Using some inventive household objects, and even audience members shoes – this is a great little shadow puppet show. Featuring a few short stories in shadow puppetry…. Last show on 29th August.
  • The Bookbinder – an enchanting production, featuring imaginative storytelling and beautiful papercraft….about a Bookbinder’s apprentice who travels into a wonderful world to rectify a mistake. Last show on the 28th.
  • Beards ! Beards ! Beards !Ace show about a girl called Beatrix who wants to have a beard like all the wise and important men in history. Quirky and innovative with lots of great songs..one to catch for sure ! Last show on 28th.
  • Glasgow Girls – One for older children but absolute highlight of my fringe, fantastic musical about a very important and temporary topic of immigration and asylum seekers. Last show on 28th
  • Celeste’s Circus – One for younger children -this is a really sweet little show for under fives. Celeste takes us to the circus, using a lovely handmade set and featuring a cat, seal, dogs, hippo and elephant ! Last show the 28th August.

If you’re out and about – enjoy it !! And let’s hope the weather is also kind….

Fantastic first day…

So, after reading all the programmes, watching the venues being built and seeing hundreds of posters appear all over the city, yesterday I managed to head to the festival and see some shows !!

We had a great day, I’ll be posting some reviews soon, so please keep checking back to that page.

Firstly we saw Captain Flinn and The Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass, which was fun and energetic and a great show for wee ones, it has a little bit of everything: catchy songs, dinosaurs, puppets and a few surprises !

kidzone Then we headed along to check out the kidzone at the Pleasance, which was as great as always. We did some of the arts and crafts – you can see what’s on offer in the photo, and prices start at £1 which I think is fantastic value in the festival – it was busy and lots of little ones were enjoying being creative there !

 

morgan and west

To finish off our first day we headed along to see Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show for Kids (and Childish Grown-Ups!) – which was brilliant – they are such a fantastic and quick witted duo and know exactly how to pitch things for kids. There was plenty of audience participation and lots of magic to keep everyone guessing – it’s well worth checking out and was very busy today, so get your tickets early !

Last two days…

The count down is on till the end of the Fringe and if you’re still thinking of cramming in a few shows or events, you’d best do it now !

The BBC tent has some more Digital Fun stuff going on tomorrow (Sunday 30th) :

They have digital toys to play with from the University of Edinburgh, including robots, coding apps, board games and build-your-own electronic toys.

They also have interactive sessions with Foxdog Studios, who’ll be making music in the Pink Tent with help from audience members, who’ll use phones and tablets to control games, drawings and musical instruments.

Once again its all free, pop down between 10am and 4pm .

If you are thinking of squeezing in one more show, I would recommend :

Enjoy the last few days !!