Hidden Gems…

The last weekend of the Fringe is fast approaching and you still have time to get out there and explore all the corners of the festival and everything out there ! There are some unique venues this year that we have loved visiting –  two hidden gems that are well worth a visit if you can are :

ImageSwallow The Sea Caravan Theatre – Finishing up on Sunday 25th , this delightful little caravan is not to be missed. Parked up in the Summerhall courtyard, bringing you an escape from the hecticness of the festival and plunging audiences into a different world entirely. Shadow and tabletop puppetry, object theatre, poetry, installation and live soundscape give a rare opportunity to experience intimate all-immersive theatre in the tiniest of settings with the smallest of audiences. It is totally worth going to Summerhall just to see the caravan – make sure you book tickets in advance as seats are limited !

Image result for pianodromePianodrome – Also finishing up on the 25th August is the incredible Pianodrome – if you have never visited this amazing venue before – don’t miss out. The biggest small venue in town. This year their majestic 100-seater amphitheatre made entirely from upcycled pianos goes wild downtown in a post-industrial warehouse in Leith. Join them for new music, new writing, street food and drinks. All singing, all dancing, all welcome. Intimate. Epic.

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First day….

We had a super fantastic first day, and loved getting fully immersed in festival fever again!! This is going to be a great few weeks !!

Our first stop was to the wonderful Summerhall to see Sparkle, we loved this gentle adventure of the first days at school and the trials and tribulations that unfold..definitely recommend this for an uplifting start to your morning !!

We squeezed in some exploring in Summerhall and a quick visit to the enchanting Swallow The Sea Caravan Theatre, before seeing the epic fairytale of Troll – Trick of the Light theatre always produce the most compelling, captivating stories , with such imaginative, creative puppetry and sets – this was no exception ! It is only on until the 11th of August – so get yourselves to see it quick !

As some of you may know, no visit to the fringe these days is without the possibility of hot cinnamon donuts – and a collective sigh of relief was had by all when we popped by George Square Gardens to check the stall has returned…and…

Last up, we went to see Blizzard which was awesomely spectacular and left us all on a high – fantastic acrobatics with very funny and silly snippets inbetween – try and sit near the front if you can !!

Elsewhere, our new mini, mini reviewer was getting immersed in the world of Fox-Tot! and loving the sensory set and getting to play with the autumnal leaves…

And so it begins….

Wow…so August festival season has started with a bang ! Two days in and I’m three press launches down and in need of a serious good night’s sleep ! But it’s been so much fun – and from all the amazing, varied snippets of shows I’ve been lucky to see, this fringe is going to be fantastic !!

First up was the Underbelly launch and I know this is a blog about kid’s events, but we loved the compere – Rhys Nicholson – and I would definitely check his show out if you can!

Other highlights included :

  • Basil Brush – He popped in for a quick visit, which delighted everyone !! He will be here with songs, stories and more for the whole family !
  • Magical Bones – I think this guy would be great for older children, and anyone keen to see magic and some impressive acrobatics combined !
  • Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo – we were met by one of the dinosaur’s from this show outside and it was incredible – kids are going to LOVE it….

Next up Assembly worked more of their magic in the beautiful Assembly Hall venue….Frisky and Manish were compering and sharing some musical delights…

  • Blizzard – I was already SO excited to see this after the awesome Attrape Moi last year – and the brief preview we got to see did not disappoint !!
  • Morgan and West – Yay ! We love these guys and this year their quick witted humour is working it’s magic on science and the glimpse we got was great !!
  • La Galerie – Bringing humour to circus and seamlessly taking the audience with them – I’m keen to see the whole show as the glimpse we got wasn’t nearly enough!

Lastly, the List party was lots of fun, and Summerhall the perfect venue – I love exploring all the corridors and walkways….

Image result for swallow the sea caravan theatre………and if you’re lucky enough you will find the amazing Swallow The Sea caravan this year – parked in the Summerhall courtyard. Bringing you an escape from the norm and plunging audiences into a different world. Shadow and tabletop puppetry, object theatre, poetry, installation and live soundscape give a rare opportunity to experience intimate all-immersive theatre in the tiniest of settings with the smallest of audiences. It is totally worth going to Summerhall just to see the caravan, let alone all the other shows being hosted there !

 

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 ) 

 

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…..