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 !

Pleasance Kidzone 2016

The Pleasance Kidzone is like an oasis during the hectic festival for parents…it’s full of craft activities, puppet shows, toys, picnic tables, a buggy park and thankfully some food stalls for that all important cup of coffee !

This year they promise some new treats with the amazing scene machine, monstrous monster-making and kite creating workshops as well as the usual daily crafty activities, and this year we are lucky enough to get double as the Pleasance will be at the EICC with kids shows there too – fantastic !

Information about all of the 18 children’s shows that the Pleasance are hosting this year can be found here ,some of my top picks are :

The Snail and the Whale – Tall Stories do wonderful children’s theatre, and this is no exception. A delightful and gentle version of this well loved book about a tiny snail longing to see the world by Julia Donaldson, featuring beautiful songs, live music and some surprises too !

 

The Cat In The Hat – From the moment his tall, red and white striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the Cat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. Returning to the festival this year, this is a great and fully entertaining show for little ones, providing lots to look at and plenty of laughs.

 

The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad – This interactive performance looks intriguing and imaginative. Frank is an inquisitive chap with a big problem: what’s happened to Mum? Join Frank on his adventure to find her. There’ll be scavenger hunts, puzzles to solve and even some dancing to dubstep. Dealing sensitively with grief and loss, the show asks how we cope when things go missing.

The Amazing Scene Machine Does Aardinburgh ! – Celebrate Aardman’s 40th birthday with expert Aardman modelmaker Jim Parkyn and his Amazing Scene Machine. Help create a very special 3D clay painting of Edinburgh featuring some of Aardman’s stars including Morph, Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit – and your own cast of Aardman-esque people and creatures.

 

Highlights from the first week…

Phew…it’s all gone by in a bit of a blur, but the first week of the Fringe has been amazing. I have managed to squeeze in ALOT of seeing shows, a moderate amount of hanging out at the BBC tent, a touch of ‘flyers for shows’ collecting and what feels like a tiny pinch of blogging about it all….the sun has been kind enough to shine, ice creams have been eaten and I am feeling great !
It is hard to believe there are still another two and a half weeks to go and the book festival has not even started yet either – I am not sure where I will get the energy from to continue but I am loving the festival 2015 so far…
Here are a few of my highlights from the past week :

  • Traces – as I mentioned in my earlier post about my first day at the festival, this show is absolutely amazing, and still my overall highlight so far. Seven extremely talented and skilled circus performers take you on a journey, intertwining their acrobatic skills with moments of humour and friendship, and most impressively singing in Chinese- you are left wondering if there is anything these guys are not able to do !
  • Secret Life of Suitcases – The Storytelling Centre once again has a hidden gem of a show this festival – this is a beautiful, heart warming piece of theater with some exquisite puppetry. The set is gorgeous, and transforms along with this tale of embracing life’s adventures when you can…
  • Trash Test Dummies – featuring a trio of loveable Aussie clowns, this is a great family circus show with a good balance of acrobatics, clowning and musical fun.
  • Lords of Strut : The Family Show – see the blog post below – these guys were very, very entertaining – fun and mayhem for the whole family.

Both the BBC tent and the Pleasance Kidzone have proved great places to hang out with children. The BBC tent offers a ping pong table, deckchairs, IPads, a big screen showing various shows and a free photo-booth whilst the Pleasance Kidzone has arts and crafts, picnic tables, a puppet theatre and lots of visitors from children’s shows taking place at the various Pleasance venues.

I’m just hoping I find some more time to get out and about and enjoy it all ….

Pleasance Kidzone 2015

Each year the Pleasance has a fantastic kidzone – packed with fun craft activities, toys, picnic tables, buggy park and a few food stalls so importantly parents can also grab a well deserved cup of coffee !

Children can also enjoy storytelling sessions, face painting, music, author book signings and regular visits from all the Pleasance performers, so it is a gem of a place to spend some time with kids during the festival season.

The Pleasance’s 2015 children’s programme is almost double what is has been in previous years, with a whopping number of 26 shows for you to choose from – you can read all about them here.

Here are a few of my top picks :

  • Alfie White : Space Explorer – Brought this year by Tall Stories who came to Edinburgh last year with Emily brown and the thing which was extremely enchanting- this shows looks worth a peek. Alfie White is crazy about space. And his dad is training to be the first man on the moon. At least that’s what Alfie tells his schoolmates. In fact, Alfie’s dad has disappeared without trace… A cosmic tale of adventure and discovery for everyone aged 5+                                 
  • The Tiger Who Came To Tea – The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? …..Most parents and children will be familiar with this delightful tale which has spanned generations and this show packed with music and clumsy chaos looks exciting !  (Ages 2 +)               
  • Albee Vector The Sound Collector – This show was part of the free fringe last year and I mentioned it in my blog as being worth visiting but I never made it myself – judging by it’s return to the Pleasance venue this year, it’s well worth the trip ! An epic tale of love, adventure and a sound-hoover called Mustard. Find out how Albee and his love Andromeda survived kings, curses and cruelty on their quest for beautiful sound in the world. (Ages 4+)                                             Albee Vector the Sound Collector
  • Rosie’s Magic Horse – If an ice lolly stick can dream of being a horse, what magic might follow? A fantastic story based on the book by Russell Hoban. This looks very mystical and enchanting…..(Ages 3-8)                                             

Definitely looks like its worth visiting the kidzone again this year….

Highlights so far….

Sorry for the gap in festival updates this week – been busy with little one’s first day at school etc, so not had too much of a chance to get out and about !

I thought I’d do a bit of a run through of some of my highlights so far in shows and activities as the last week of the fringe festival is fast approaching !

  • Dinosaur Zoo – we saw this right in the first week and we loved it – it works for younger children obviously as they mostly love dinosaurs and the puppets are incrediably realistic but also for older kids as it’s very informative and interactive which I really enjoyed – there’s also a chance to meet and greet some of the dinosaurs after the show which was fab ! – on until 25th August
  • Pirate Gran – we saw this last week and again it was great – I loved previous Scamp Theatre productions and this one had the same entertaining songs, cleaverly thought out set design (the set changes were infact one of the best bits of the show as mundane lounge furniture got trasformed into a pirate ship !) and fast paced storyline to keep everyone engaged. – on until 25th August
  • Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and his singing tiger – Dr. Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger I managed to catch this show last week too – I absolutely loved the first Dr Brown kids show and this time Dr Brown is packing for an adventure and its a whole new delightful, funny, interactive show with the fantastic singing tiger melodically guiding us through! I love this show as it totally involves the audience and this is great for kids and also pretty brave for the performers as anything can and will happen !  They have just added two extra dates for the show – TOMORROW the 15th August and Saturday 16th August, both 11.30 in the Bosco Tent George Square Gradens – I highly recommend catching it while you can.
  • A Simple Space – Although this is not strictly advertised as a kids show – it’s playful physical theatre that young people will both enjoy and be totally inspired by.  Seven Australian acrobats (who all happen to be gorgeous) playfully compete against each other and push themselves to their physical limits. My children sat entralled throughout the entire thing and it is awe inspiring – I didn’t manage to see this show last year and I am SO happy I saw it this time, its the best show I’ve seen so far this year and you leave feeling very very happy ! – On until the 25th August (not 18th)
  • Celeste’s Circus – I personally haven’t seen this show, but a few friends have, and it comes highly recommended – I know its one of the few shows out there suitable for very young children and apparently they are loving it ! Hurry though, as it finishes this weekend on the 17th August.

You are not short of good places to hang out and for the kids to be entertained this August – I have had some great days out and about exploring activities on offer :

  • Pleasance Kidzone – This is always a great place to hang out between shows or even just to go and absorb some of the festival atmosphere. They have some good arts and crafts activities on offer again this year, from shrinkie necklaces and keyrings, to painting your own mug, designing t-shirts or smaller things like decorating tiaras. I was pretty impressed that prices started at £1 and we spent a great morning making things and exploring the toys in the area. Theres also a little cafe with food and hot drinks which is always much needed !
  • BBC area – By now you’ll know that I love this space and its a total gem of a place to go with the kids. They have free childrens events going on most days, have a fantastic kid friendly area with deckchairs, fake grass, a ping pong table and Ipads to play on ! The CBeebies weekends offer even more chilrens actvities including facepainting and you can even get your photo taken and then superimposed onto scenes so you can be a weatherperson, be hanging out in Albert Square or with the tardis or with Mr Bloom or the ZingZillas and best of all – its all for free. Do, do check it out !
  • Edinburgh Book Festival – I was hanging out at the Book festival today and like previous years the childrens bookshop is a great place to spend some time with the kids exploring all the fantastic books and there’s a lovely area with cushions and shelves to spend some time getting lost between the pages. Then there is the always amazing storybox which offers arts and crafts activities everyday with a new theme daily and offer a range of activities around this as well as providing a cosy space with books and toys.

I’m just hoping I find some more time to get out and about and enjoy it all for a bit longer !