Reviews & features: Kids

336 reviews

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Sam Rose in the Shadows

21 Aug 20134 stars

Warm, sensitive and uplifting tale about sadness from puppetry and theatre company Tucked In

It’s a strange feeling, coming out of a show about sadness with a smile on your face. Even before this piece from puppetry and theatre company Tucked In begins, a warm atmosphere is in the air, buoyed by gentle ukulele songs and pre-show chatter with…

Little Howard's Big Show for Kids

21 Aug 20134 stars

An enormously fun hour of technical wizardry and audience interaction

There’s an intriguing mix of the hi-tech and old-school about geeky comic Howard Read and his cheeky sidekick, Little Howard. Since arriving on the comedy scene over a decade ago, Read has been known for his work with screens, laptops and animation…

The Adventure

21 Aug 20134 stars

An interactive kids' show that starts (intentionally) weakly but improves steadily throughout

It’s not unheard of for a show to start well, then descend steadily downhill – but The Adventure does the exact opposite. From a fairly lacklustre start (intentional, as it turns out), it just gets better and better. In the interest of making it as…

YurtaKids: Unleashed

21 Aug 20132 stars

Scarlattine Teatro's dance piece for under-5s lacks structure

Given that human beings are said to develop more between birth and the age of five than at any other point in our lives, creating a show that appeals to everyone in that age bracket is a task-and-a-half. And sitting next to those kids, of course, is an…

Starbird

21 Aug 20133 stars

Mara Menzies' colourful puppetry and storytelling lights up the night

There are a few key ingredients you need to entertain young children, and this show has pretty much got all of them. An engaging storyteller, Mara Menzies interacts with the children as if they were sitting in the library at school, instantly taking…

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Esio Trot

16 Aug 20134 stars

Delightful Roald Dahl adaptation by Cambridge students

Roald Dahl’s tale of two lonely people brought together by a tortoise was adapted for the stage by Cambridge University’s Ryan Ammar and brought to Edinburgh by the Uni’s ADC Theatre. The script bolsters the slight story by amping up the villainy and…

My Brother the Robot

11 Aug 20134 stars

Futuristic family fun

The technology in Tall Stories’ new show may seem far-fetched, but with robotic carers for the elderly already in development, it’s closer than you think. Little Bobby lives alone with her father in the year 2042, eating fish and chips from a…

Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune

11 Aug 20134 stars

Puppetry that spins pure gold

Perhaps it’s his funny name. Or the fact he can spin straw into gold. Whatever the reason, Rumpelstiltskin has remained a perennial fairytale favourite for over 200 years. Storyteller and puppeteer Andy Lawrence knows that, which is why apart from a few…

Handmade Tales

11 Aug 20134 stars

Young company, Tap Tap Theatre, excels at storytelling enchantment

Tap Tap Theatre sprung into existence last year, created by University of Bristol students, and has quickly garnered an enviable repuation. This year they have three shows at the Fringe: Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time, Men and Handmade Tales…

I Believe in Unicorns

9 Aug 20133 stars

Storytelling with a serious message

The former children's laureate and writer of over 100 books, Michael Morpurgo returns to two of his recurring themes – the horrors of wartime and the majesty of the equine breed – in this 2005 story about the importance of storytelling. The action takes…

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The Red Tree

9 Aug 20133 stars

Sensitive meditation on childhood depression

Refreshing isn't quite the right word to use, but seeing a children's theatre piece open with the bleak torch-lit sentence ‘sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to’ is a welcome move towards tackling head-on the feelings of childhood…

Feral

8 Aug 20133 stars

Lovely puppetry, inventiveness and enthusiastic puppeteers makes up for some thematic shortcomings

Tortoise In A Nutshell are a multimedia company who build puppets from scratch and project them onto large screens. Feral takes a serious look at social problems: a controversial new 'supercade' has opened up in an Anywhere town, creating an…

Superhero Snail Boy

8 Aug 20133 stars

A zig-zagging emotional journey through comedy and tragedy

Penned by Elizabeth Muncey for Vertical Line Theatre, Superhero Snail Boy is a multi-headed beast. After an upbeat start we are introduced to a cabal of troubled characters in a series of vignettes. There's the bullied boy, the neglected girl, the…

I Knew a Man Called Livingstone

8 Aug 20133 stars

Historic Scot recalled from an African perspective

Victorian celebrity, Scotsman, missionary doctor, abolitionist, capitalist and explorer of Africa, 2013 marks the bicentenary of David Livingstone's birth. Toto Tales specialises in African forms of storytelling and presents some of the notable episodes…

Hairy Maclary and Friends

8 Aug 20134 stars

Old school literary adaptation of New-Zealand's canine hero

Hairy Maclary is the titular canine hero of some 12 books by New Zealand author Dame Lynley Dodd. In the book he is a small black hairy creature of indeterminate breed, in the show he’s a 5’5” hairy costumed creature of indeterminate gender. He also has…

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Fringe 2013 Bribe of the Week - I Believe in Unicorns

7 Aug 2013

Wizard Theatre's custom creativity just tops The Dead Secret's vintage treasure

Week two of our 2013 Fringe Bribe project brought with it a challenge: do we reward people who craft us personally-relevant pieces of creativity, or those who send us the coolest-looking stuff? In the end, we went with the latter: week two's Bribe of…

Showstoppers' Family Hour

6 Aug 20134 stars

Funny, silly, uplifting and ridiculous improvised children's show

As the audience entered, the Showstoppers cast was already on stage, crooning little ditties about the audience's clothing. This audient was immediately on his guard, although perspective was at hand in the form of the Daughter (six years old) who…

Romeo and Juliet

6 Aug 20135 stars

Children's show version of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, who never looked so good

Any company staging Romeo and Juliet for younger audiences has two hurdles to overcome: make it clear enough for children to understand, yet fresh and interesting enough for the adult sitting next to them, who knows the story inside out. This energetic…

War of the Worms

6 Aug 20132 stars

Richard Digance and duaghter in sing-a-long storytelling that falls foul of fact

Father and daughter team Richard and Rosie Digance narrate and sing their way through a tale of the humble worm and its role in nature – with an emphasis on the smelly. With Richard on guitar duty, and Rosie reading the story, they make for amiable…

The Maharajah and the Kohinoor

6 Aug 20133 stars

Family-friendly show covering some home truths about the British empire

If you’re not already familiar with Britain’s behaviour towards India during the Victorian era, then prepare to come out of the theatre with any sense of national pride a little bruised. This is a story that deserves to be told; a piece of history lost…

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Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs

4 Aug 20133 stars

Company Les Petits create swashbuckling adventure on a puppet-filled sea

On a ramshackle pirate ship in the centre of a silken blue sea, big kid Flinn – a boy who loves drawing, jumping on trampolines and dinosaurs – embarks on an adventure that tests his mettle to the limit. Along with vivacious sidekicks, loudmouth Pearl…

The Magical Playroom with CBeebies' Cerrie Burnell

4 Aug 20134 stars

Charming story from children’s TV presenter

To the uninitiated, Cerrie Burnell is the woman from CBeebies whose disabled arm caused a stir in 2009. She is also possibly the perfect children’s presenter. It’s difficult to think of anyone currently on TV more capable of creating wonder and…

I Hate Children Children's Show

4 Aug 20134 stars

Paul Nathan gives a nasty but nice magic show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Don’t let the title fool you. Magician Paul Nathan may pull mean faces, grab kids by the collar, withhold sweets and generally ridicule his young audience. But if Nathan really hated children, this show would be a fraction as good as it is. Magic is…

Titus

4 Aug 20134 stars

A sensitive - but not sentimental - play about a lost boy, brilliantly performed by Joseph Arkley

There are unlikely to be many more expressive faces appearing in kids theatre this Fringe than Joseph Arkley’s. Throughout Titus, the RSAMD-trained actor stretches every muscle, with eyes either piercing or full of despair, and his mouth shaping a sly…

L’Apres-midi d’un Foehn

4 Aug 20134 stars

Company Non Nova turn plastic to fantastic as tiny dancers bag some air time

If you loved the floating bag in American Beauty, then you’re in for a real treat. As we troop into Summerhall’s Old Lab, an austere-looking gent in a winter coat is methodically taping together pieces of plastic. The circular area he works in is…