Reviews & features: Kids

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Big Red Bath & The Snow Dog children's theatre shows set for 2014 Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Double helping of imaginative fun for kids by Full House Theatre to include a live husky on stage

Full House Theatre has been devising family theatre for more than ten years, and this year it’s bringing illustrated children’s book Big Red Bath to the stage. Over the last decade, Julia Jarman and Adrian Reynolds’ book has become a modern classic with…

New show Potted Sherlock runs at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

The complete works of Sherlock Holmes condensed into 70 minutes for an entralling show

With news that Benedict Cumberbatch is returning as the supersleuth of Baker Street, while Ian McKellen is set to play a ninetysomething Holmes obsessed with cracking one final case, it seems that we just can’t get enough of Arthur Conan Doyle’s clever…

The Cat in the Hat children's theatre show brings classic character to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Dr. Seuss's famous feline climbs on stage in a delightful production for adults and children alike

With his red bow tie and tall stripy hat, few children’s book characters are as iconic as the Cat in the Hat. Written in 1957 by Dr Seuss (aka American writer Theodor Geisel), the story is precious to generations of readers – requiring a sensitivity on…

Dean Friedman set to bring four shows to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

1970s pop icon who’s down with the kids returns with new series of musical sing-along performances

‘I'm pretty sure every songwriter with kids finds themselves humming silly melodies to distract themselves – and keep their kids from wiggling off the table – while changing nappies. That's how my first kids’ songs came about,’ says Dean Friedman.

Children's dance show Chalk About visits 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Playful yet profound dance show inspired by conversations with children

Adults spend a lot of time assuming they know what children want. So it’s refreshing to hear that choreographer Christine Devaney and her creative partner Hendrik Lebon took the time to ask children about their latest show, Chalk About. A playful yet…

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Red Riding Hood children's theatre show visits 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

New spin on an old yarn as fairytale is reinvented through puppetry, masks and video projection

We all know the tale of the wee girl in the red cape, and the wolf with a penchant for dressing up. Or rather, we think we do. But as puppetry company Horse + Bamboo discovered, there’s more than one way to tell a classic. ‘It’s easy to think of…

Interactive children's dance workshop Ready Steady Ceilidh to run during 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Show hosted by CBBC presenter Iain Stirling promises to teach bairns traditional Scottish dance

The younger counterpoint to Assembly’s late night dance show, This is Ceilidh, Ready, Steady, Ceilidh aims to introduce over-fives to the riotous pleasures of Scottish traditional dancing. Hosted by CBBC presenter and comedian Iain Stirling, it will…

Two children's puppetry shows featuring Pips And Panda run during 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Puppetry combining computer animation and UV to bring style up-to-date for the electronic generation

There aren’t many children’s theatre companies who can claim to have entertained three generations of the same family. But if, like Purves Puppets, you’ve been treading the boards for 40 years, inevitably some of your earliest audiences will produce…

Stage adaptation of children's book Emily Brown And The Thing visits 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Tall Stories bring bedtime favourite to life through catchy songs and dynamic physical storytelling

From The Gruffalo to The Snail and the Whale, Tall Stories can often be found turning the pages of a book into a show. Next stop on their list of popular picture books is Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton’s <a…

Edinburgh Art Festival 2014: experience music and poetry in arty environments with Festival Detours

28 Jul 2014

Luke Wright, Meursault, Eilidh MacAskill and John Osborne prepare to perform in gallery settings

Detours is a series of live shows by music, poetry and theatre artists taking place in galleries across the city. As part of Edinburgh Art Festival, it aims to bring a new audience to visual art by transforming the traditional gallery space. This…

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Longlist announced for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award 2014

23 Jul 2014

The award recognises Fringe shows that encourage audiences to consider their environmental impact

The shortlist for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, which celebrates the greenest and most sustainable shows of the fringe that encourage audiences to take responsibility for their own environmental impact, has been announced, with 22…

Oliver Postgate’s classic Noggin the Nog comes to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog brings viking from vintage children's TV programme to stage

Some years ago, in an innocent time before the Game of Thrones hegemony, there was a converted cowshed in leafy Englandshire. Therein, two men created an animated fantasy adventure set in the craggy Northlands, starring a simple, kindly Norse prince…

Children's show Musical Mornings with Mil’s Trills set for 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

New York songwriter Amelia Robinson on her show that introduces music and instruments to all ages

If helping your little one discover the joy of music and language is high on your list of priorities, but one more rendition of ‘Wheels on the Bus’ might tip you over the edge, then a refreshing wind is blowing in from New York. Singer and songwriter…

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

16 Jun 20143 stars

A beautiful but over-simplified family-friendly nature doc narrated by Morgan Freeman

At 40 minutes, David Douglas’ slender, family-friendly IMAX lemur doc is a hark back to the format’s days as a short-form edutainment outlet. Friendly, photogentic primates leap across the massive screen while Morgan Freeman’s subterranean tones…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Take a trip to the Island of Lemurs

10 Jun 2014

Writer-producer Drew Fellman discusses the IMAX doc, which is narrated by Morgan Freeman

It’s a cute, furry, animals-acting-like-humans narrative that could have been lifted straight from a Disney storyboard: a group of primates, fearing extinction on the mainland, board a naturally made raft and set sail for distant shores. ‘It’s the sort…

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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…