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 :
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
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 !
It’s technically my second day of the festival, but we only saw one show yesterday, (the fantastic Tom Brace), so I’d thought I’d merge it all together !…
Firstly, can I just say how BRILLIANT it is to be back seeing live shows again !!! Oh how I’ve missed it, and I’m loving the festival being back in it’s full flow and the energy and chaos back in the city again !! I’m loving seeing all the posters, all the street performers, all the food trucks, all the colours, sights, sounds, smells – we’ve really really missed it. And as the magnificent Reuben Kaye (one for the adults) said last night, how fantastic to be in a city where the arts are prioritised and celebrated !! We’re very lucky indeed…..
So…our first show of this festival was Tom Brace: Embrace the Impossible !.. and what a great start it was ! Full of properly astounding magic, a sprinkling of time travel and some game show madness with ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ – with lots of audience participation – its a fantastic show and I would highly recommend, it says ages 8+ and I would agree its best for older kids, and adults – Tom engages everyone well and puts in loads of humour so the adults enjoy it just as much as the younger audience members ! The kids are still pondering how he did all the tricks today which is the sign of a great show, leaving us guessing and wanting more …
Next up was the fantastic Tall Stories with The Smeds and The Smoos – This is for the littler little ones out there and Tall Stories have weaved their magic once again in their brilliant adaptation of this Julia Donaldson tale. Catchy songs, beautiful puppets, audience participation….its got a little bit of everything.
Chores was super fun once again – we’ve seen it before (review here) and enjoyed seeing two new siblings grapple with tidying their bedroom and the ensuing bedlam that follows. There was alot of silliness and alot of giggling….again, one for a slightly younger audience.
Lastly we saw the ever fantastically amazing Flip Fabrique with Muse – This was such a spectacular show, with the most incredible acrobatics, trapeze, diablo and much much more….sit near the front to be completely stunned !! We left as awestruck as ever !!
And if that wasn’t enough, I snuck in a visit to the List festival party and managed to catch a snippet of Magical Bones who astounded us with a few of his card tricks…and I’m definitely going to check out the full show if I can – one for the older children out there -ages 12 and up!
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Some top recommendations for your £5 tickets would be :
Chores -Chores is the story of a brother and sister who have to clean up their messy room so they can ride their bicycles. This show is jam-packed full of cool stunts, acrobatic flips, roller skates, juggling and the infamous toilet paper guns!
Brotipo – Crazy Canadian circus for the young, premiering in Edinburgh after visiting 16 countries! The art of giving each other a chance and collaborating when the right time comes is what the Brotipos will have to learn!
360 Allstars – The international smash hit returns! A phenomenal physical performance exploring all forms of rotation, 360 ALLSTARS connects street with elite in a supercharged urban circus.
Beats on Pointe – This is a tightly choreographed show anchoring a dynamic modern story of two opposing dance worlds peppered with breaking, contemporary, acrobatics and captivating dance theatre .
Muse – What does it mean to be a woman? Muse attempts to answer this question circus style! There’s hardly just one answer and exploring the question calls for some… acrobatics.
Prehysterical – This show rocks! A hilarious circus show for children and parents of all ages following three foolish Neanderthals as they struggle to survive the harsh natural world.
Dinosaurs and all that rubbish – One small step for man, one giant pile of rubbish! Man’s dream to reach the stars leaves the world in ruins and disturbs the dinosaurs. Will they wake up and save planet Earth?
The Adventures of Sleepyhead – She’s the dreamer of dreams. The walking-talking nap. A snoozer and a muser. Delight in this adventure to the heart of dreamland as Sleepyhead fends off the zzz…
Shark In The Park – Timothy Pope is looking through his telescope – but wait, is that a Shark, in the Park!? From the creative team behind the Hairy Maclary show – see all three of Nick Sharratt’s Shark in the Park books live on stage!
Kin– The UK’s hottest circus company, Barely Methodical Troupe brings you their five-star hit about group dynamics and camaraderie.
I find this so hard, trying to pick out top recommendations from all the pages of amazing shows to see – we really are lucky indeed !! In 2022 the children’s shows section is jam packed and add into this the circus and physical theatre and we’ve got literally hundreds of shows to choose from…I’ll post some top picks for ‘littler little ones’ shortly, which gives me some wiggle room for some firm favourites here…
As always, I’m super keen to hear your top recommendations too and hope we find some new favourite companies out there this year….
Muse– Flip Fabrique are back and we couldn’t be happier – we have LOVED their previous shows Blizzard and Attrape Moi and cannot wait for this new performance – they always have us on the edge of seats with their gravity defying acrobatics and imaginative use of stage space and equipment. ”What does it mean to be a woman? Muse attempts to answer this question circus style! There’s hardly just one answer and exploring the question calls for some… acrobatics. Playing with gender roles, Muse offers up a refreshing view of contemporary circus” – 4th – 28th August (not 8th, 15th, 22nd)
Hamlet – Prince of Skidmark– Readers of this blog will know that we are HUGE Listies fans in this household !!!! We are delighted they are coming back to Edinburgh this August and bringing this show for it’s Edinburgh debut ! ”This is the bard, Listies style: ninjas, ghosts, pirate aliens, swords, dinosaurs and zombies. Hamlet: Prince of Skidmark is a side-splitting adventure that shatters the fourth wall and glues it back together with supersonic storytelling and silliness.” – August 5th – 28th (not 11th, 18th, 22nd, 25th )
The Ultimate Pickle – Paines Plough have brought some of my all time favourite children’s shows to the fringe in their unique Roundabout venue at Summerhall and I’m really looking forward to this one…hoping for some more of their magical, imaginative storytelling. ”Everything is awesome in Dill’s life. A loving mum, a loyal best mate, a granddad who plays the drums, and Jack Tornado: the oldest and best goldfish in the world. But when a ball of fluff falls from grandad’s book, everything changes forever. Could that be a… wolf!? ” – Saturday/Sundays only – 6/7th, 13/14th, 20/21st, 27th/28th August
Tom Brace – Embrace the Impossible ! – Again we are big fans of Tom Brace in this household after he amazed us with his tricks one lunchtime…Tom keeps his audiences highly entertained and is hugely charismatic, with just the right hint of charm ! I am in no doubt this new show will be as big a success as his last … ”Cluedo, Roald Dahl and one film in particular from 1985… Magician Tom Brace takes a trip down memory lane with a brand-new magic show for all ages. ” – 3rd – 29th August ( not 16th)
Manual Cinema Presents: Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster – Manual cinema create incredible multi-media shows – combining live music and songs, paper cut outs, puppets and diy cinema…its truly unique and promises to be very special indeed. ”Leonardo! tells the story of a monster who longs to be scary and the big decisions he must make along the way.” – 3rd – 29th August (not 15th )
Carnival of the Animals by Circa – Circa have previously brought us the amazing shows Humans and Circa: Wolfgang, so we are beyond excited for this year’s family offering and the awe inspiring acrobatics they effortlessly amaze us with. ”These zebras juggle and flip. These kangaroos skip and somersault. The elephants have rhythm and the dinosaur bones shake, clatter and roll to the music. Carnival of the Animals by Circa whisks you away on a thrilling circus escapade inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns’ delightful salute to feathers, fur and fins.” – 5th – 28th August (not 10th, 15th, 22nd, 23rd )
The Smeds and The Smoos – Tall Stories have been delighting us with their stage adaptations of Julia Donaldson’s well loved books for years and we’re hoping this show will continue the trend ! For the little little ones out there, puppets, songs and live action will bring this story to life – ”On a far-off planet, Smeds and Smoos can’t be friends. So when a young Smed and Smoo fall in love and zoom off into space together, how will their families get them back?” – 3rd – 21st August (not 6th or 17th)
A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings – This show sounds intriguing to me and I will definitely be checking it out. Its also a great reason to go and spend a morning in Summerhall, delighting in all it has to offer this festival season. ”Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s darkly comic tale brought to the stage for children and adults to share. In a kitchen of a theatre, two storytellers and their audience find something remarkable – a very old man with enormous wings. ” – 3rd – 28th August (not 15th or 22nd )
Circus Abyssinia: Tulu – We absolutely LOVED Circus Abyssinia’s last show here in 2017 – Ethiopian Dreams and we are so excited they are back this August with their new show. They totally amazed us with their joyfulness, colour and vibrancy…. ”Inspired by the true tale of an Ethiopian icon, Derartu Tulu, this unmissable showcase of superhuman strength blends breathtaking contortion, awe-inspiring acrobatics and mesmerising fire juggling with a rocking, exuberant soundtrack.” – 6th – 27th August (not 15th or 22nd )
Olaf Falafel’s Super Stupid Show – I sadly missed Olaf Falafel when he was last here, but all I heard was great things – so I won’t be doing that again ! This looks like something a bit different and sure to provide a few giggles along the way – ”Join comedian and children’s author Olaf Falafel for an hour of really stupid kids’ comedy plus a drawing lesson and possibly something that involves fishing, ducks, bumbags and sausages. Family-friendly frivolity that will leave you feeling a lot less intelligent than when you walked in.” – 4th – 21st August ( not 16th )
And seeing as I couldn’t squish everyone into this list – I’d just like to mention that some of our previous much loved shows that we’ve reviewed are returning in 2022, including :