We’re delighted that Underbelly’s Circus Hub is returning to the Meadows again this year. Bringing with it a plethora of amazing shows that are sure to astound and amaze us all…and as ever, we’re hoping the churros stall will also be back for some delicious snacks !!
It feels like the number of incredible circus and physical theatre shows increases every year, and 2022 certainly looks jam packed with choice…
Underbelly’s Circus Hub is made up of two venues: The Lafayette and The Beauty. The two venues are named after one of the world’s most famous circus performers and illusionists – The Great Lafayette, and his dog Beauty, who famously both died in Edinburgh in 1911.
You can see all of the shows listed here and we’ve listed our top 5 picks below :
Circa: Humans 2.0 – We loved the original version of this incredible show (review here) – so we are super excited for this ! Ten bodies appear in a flash of light. They move in harmony for a fleeting moment and then descend into a sinuous trance. Towers grow and decay, bodies leap, and are caught, as physical limits are pushed to their extreme. – August 5th – 27th (not 10th, 15th, 22nd)
Splash Test Dummies – Readers of this blog know that we adore these loveable clowns and highly recommend a visit to share in their magic and hilarity…(review here). We reckon they are splish splashingly awesome ! See a brilliant array of catch-your-breath stunt work, acrobatics, juggling and the side-splitting, slapstick comedy for which the dummies are famous. – August 6th – 27th (not 15th, 22nd )
Cirque Alfonse: Animal – Cirque Alfonse takes us through a series of surreal farm fables served up with a touch of irreverence, impressive virtuosity and the company’s familiar comic touch. In this re-invented agricultural world, the farm is turned upside down! – August 6th – 27th ( not 10th, 15th, 22nd)
Circus Abyssinia: Tulu – We absolutely LOVED their show in 2017 (review here) – and are SUPER excited for this new show, celebrating the first African woman to win Olympic gold. 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.- August 6th – 27th (not 15th, 22nd )
Brave Space – This looks really cosy and great for littler little ones…Brave Space is the building of a blanket fort, sneaking under a hoop skirt, an impulsive congregation in the tiniest of tents. Starting as a puddle of fabric on the floor, it grows to encompass a wondrous world of circus. Intimate and low tech, the audience sits nose-to-nose with an all-female cast of bold physical artists to build the world we want to live in, even for only a few shared moments.- August 6th – 27th (not 15th, 22nd )
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 :
Phew..we have been super bus this week and have crammed in ALOT of shows…we have also managed to have many ice-creams, some hot donuts and spent some great creative time in the Pleasance Kidzone making shrinkies and tea-light holders….
We have seem some spectacular circus, hilarious comedy and seriously impressive storytelling….some of our top picks this last week have been :
The Listies: Ickypedia – If you go and see one children’s show- make it this one ! Hilarious, messy fun…you won’t be disappointed.
360 Allstars – For high octane, fast paced impressive tricks, this is the show for you ! Basketball tricks, break dancing, cyr wheel, beat boxing and more…
Splash Test Dummies – They are lovable, silly and very very funny ! Baywatch style lifesaving, beach volleyball and synchronised swimming all get a Dummies makeover !
Troll – Only on until the 11th August -a compelling, captivating story , with such imaginative, creative puppetry and set.
For the little ones, we loved:
Fox- tot ! – Multi-sensory adventure where your wee one can get fully involved meeting the playful characters and listening to the beautiful music.
For the whole family, we’ve loved these two circus shows – both have been breathtaking:
Blizzard – fantastic acrobatics with very funny and silly snippets inbetween – try and sit near the front if you can !!
Backbone – Evocative, astoundingly beautiful – stunning acrobatics made to look so graceful and effortless imaginative sequences and use of limited props and incredible laser lighting that our mini reviewers especially loved !
The ever amazing and creative Circus Hub by Underbelly returns to the Meadows this year, bringing with it an incredible variety of spectacular and innovative shows and this year, even more family friendly circus shows – great news !!
You can visit the Circus Hub for two dazzling circus tents – The Lafayette and The Beauty – and a charming bar ! ( I’m also hoping the yummy churros stall will be back this year – that was a highlight for our mini reviewers in the past !)..
It is tricky to single out any shows to see as they all look so great, and there are some old favourites returning too – but here is a top five to get you started…. !!! :
Circa: Humans – Pushing their physical bodies to the limit and having lots of fun in the meantime- this awe inspiring show returns to Edinburgh – read our review here from 2017. This is definitely a show for the whole family, perhaps best suited for slightly older children as it has no dialogue – but it comes highly recommended ! ”Ten acrobats take us on a stirring journey of what it means to be human, and how our bodies, our connections, and our aspirations all form part of who we are. ” 2nd – 24th August (not 7th/12th/19th)
Danny MacAskill’s Drop and Roll Live – This has got to be a ‘must see’ for all Danny MacAskill fans out there – and something quite unique in the Fringe programme this year! .Joining Danny will be highly acclaimed trials rider and fellow Scotsman Duncan Shaw, plus more athletes to be announced. Expect an action-packed display of gravity-defying tricks, guaranteed to amaze children and adults alike under the big top! 3rd – 24th August
YUCK Circus – Discovering new shows is part of the joy of the Fringe and this looks fantastic ! For 12 + – Sugar, spice, and apparently “nice”? With our good sense of humour, we’re going to rip into the uncomfortable using high-flying acrobatics, absurd confessions and groovy dancing. Get ready to witness a powerhouse of female circus performers kick art in the face. 3rd – 24th August (not 7th/12th/19th)
Hotel Paradiso – From the makers of The Hogwallops comes this Irresistibly colourful, loud and fun show for all the family. Thrillingly spectacular circus skills, physical comedy, clowning, theatrical storytelling and slapstick combine. A rundown hotel becomes a physical playground for the six multinational highly skilled acrobats, clowns and jugglers. Madame and the charming staff of the quirkily ineffective Hotel Paradiso battle to save their home and livelihood from the dastardly banker. 13th- 24th August (not 19th)
Splash Test Dummies – Our favourite Aussie circus guys are back !!!! Returning with the splish, splashingly awesome adventure from last year ( read our review here ). Splash Test Dummies are here, ready to roll out their beach towels and spring into an 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. 3rd – 24th August (not 12th/19th)
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 !