Reviews & features: Kelly Apter

257 reviews

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Bubblewrap and Boxes

15 Aug 20113 stars

Mayhem in the mail room

Australian company Asking For Trouble has much in its favour in Bubblewrap and Boxes. A set comprised of large, medium and small cardboard boxes, ripe for manoeuvre and exploration; two performers highly skilled in clowning and acrobatics; and a…

Patrick Monahan: Stories And Fairytales Of Travels For Kids Who Dance Like Camels

15 Aug 20113 stars

Comic silliness with a disco beat

In an ideal world, Patrick Monahan would be available every weekend to babysit my children. I doubt they’d get much sleep, but there would certainly be no tears. This amiable comedian, who branched out a few years ago into entertaining younger audience…

Snow Play

14 Aug 20114 stars

Fun and frolics in the snow

It may have caused the grown-ups a few problems earlier this year, but for children, snow is never a burden. Faced with falling flakes and a snowy white landscape, traffic infrastructure is far from their mind. Scottish/Italian company, Lyngo Theatre…

3D Hamlet: A Lost Generation

12 Aug 20114 stars

Strong acting secures the Bard a place in the 21st century

Were this show set in a different venue, with decent sight lines, a proper projection screen and space bigger than a postage stamp for the actors to perform on, it would be a shoe-in for five stars. Abridged, but retaining all the salient points and key…

The Wheel

11 Aug 20114 stars

Innocence lost in war-torn Spain

When we think about war, it is the civilian casualties or soldiers who lose their lives we remember. The children whose innocence is stripped from them, observing the horrors that surround a war zone rarely, if ever, get a mention. In the west, we worry…

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Last Orders dance piece based on Sawney Bean

10 Aug 2011

Al Seed Fringe piece on 16th century Scottish cannibal

Anthony Hopkins’ quivering lips, as he extols the fava beans, Chianti and human liver combo, is one of the most disturbing yet compelling images in Silence of the Lambs. For while serial killers might be scarily fascinating, they’re ten a penny compared…

Christopher Brookmyre set for Edinburgh Book Festival appearance

9 Aug 2011

Name-shifting Scottish scribe retains his trademarks

When Christopher Brookmyre has three syllables thrown at him, he knows he’s done something wrong. Despite his full first-name appearing on every book jacket since his debut novel in 1997, those around Brookmyre have called him Chris for years. ‘I tend…

Interactive children's shows at Edinburgh Fringe 2011

8 Aug 2011

Our tips on the best shows to get children up and moving

The Enormous Turnip, Magic Porridge Pot, Peter Pan on Dinosaur Island, Robinson Crusoe the Lost Jedi Knight Spotlites Theatre Productions don’t just dabble in interactive theatre, it’s their raison d’être. ‘Little ’uns come onstage!’ is the…

Soweto Entsha

8 Aug 20114 stars

South African songs from the heart

In 2008, Morgan, Lwazi, Jabu and Zensele were ekeing out a living, busking on the streets of Soweto. Hearing that a French producer was dining in a nearby restaurant, the a cappella singers headed down there to try and impress him. They did. Three years…


8 Aug 20115 stars

Witty and moving portrayal of life on the streets

Shuffling across the stage under a blanket, Pat Kinevane slowly makes his way towards the audience. Peering out from underneath the dirty and torn material, glittery eye shadow adorning each lid, he starts to speak. What are we expecting him to say? A…

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Simon Callow in Tuesday at Tescos

8 Aug 20114 stars

Transgender monologue that’s dressed to kill

Anything performed by Simon Callow comes with a certain guarantee: that you’ll be entertained, impressed by the Shakespearean actor’s masterly skill, and perhaps moved to laughter and/or tears. Almost all of which Tuesday at Tescos achieves. Emmanuel…

Under The Baobab Tree

8 Aug 20113 stars

Animal tales from Africa

Do you know how the hyena got its laugh or the ostrich got its long neck? The answers in this show may not be entirely true, but they’re certainly fun. Performed by Edinburgh-based Toto Tales and Singapore’s I Theatre, Under the Baobab Tree is an hour…


7 Aug 20115 stars

Stage adaptation that’s just about purrfect

In 2001, Bagpus came fourth in Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Kids’ TV Shows opinion poll – and for good reason. Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin’s 1970s programme had a warm simplicity that hooked you in with imaginative tales, then rocked you gently in its…

The Tim Bat Trick Show

7 Aug 20113 stars

Slickness and silliness in equal measure

Tim Bat has been doing the Fringe for so long, he could probably deliver his act with his eyes closed. Which is actually not a bad idea it might make the tricks he delivers a touch more daring. In an age when circus performers push the boundaries of…

Mr Benn

5 Aug 20114 stars

Tall Stories bring iconic 70s children's animation to Edinburgh festival

It’s 40 years since David McKee first turned his series of picture books into a TV series. In an instant, shop dressing rooms became the doorway to potential adventure, where anything could happen. For an entire generation, Mr Benn signified the…

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Fringe 2011 theatre - Five issue-based shows

3 Aug 2011

Shows based on 60s teenage pregnancy, infanticide, bullying and HIV

Be My Baby with Amanda Whittington A moving comedy about pregnant teens in 1960s Manchester who are sent away to a heavily religious hiding place where their only sense of freedom comes through pop music. Zoo Roxy, 662 6892, 7–13 Aug, 6.30pm, £8…

Fringe 2011: Five dance shows based on true-stories

29 Jul 2011

Real life events provide inspirational for several Fringe shows this year

Falling Man. Who can forget the horrific image of a man falling to his death from the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks? This haunting solo by Dundee-based dance company Smallpetitklein was inspired by the ubiquitous photos capturing the…

Circolombia bring Urban show to Edinburgh Festival

29 Jul 2011

South American acrobats and anecdotes

Their lives may have started in adversity, but when the performers of Circolombia step on stage at this year’s Fringe, it’s as fully fledged professionals. All the members of the troupe grew up on the streets of Cali in Colombia, facing a daily round of…

Snow Play bring snowball fight to 2011 Edinburgh Festival

29 Jul 2011

Children's show features interactive battle of the seasons

When Snow Play enjoyed a sell-out run at the Lyric theatre in London last December, the timing was perfect. Outside, children played with snow on the ground – then stepped inside the venue to find the same weather conditions represented on stage. The…

Mr Benn brings 1970s TV classic to Edinburgh Festival stage

29 Jul 2011

Kids show from makers of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom

Anyone who has seen The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom or any of the other wonderful shows Tall Stories has staged over the years, will know that the company is no stranger to adaptation. This time, however, they’ve moved away from children’s picture books…

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Bubblewrap and Boxes turns cardboard boxes into children's show

29 Jul 2011

Playing around with the post at 2011 Edinburgh Festival

As any young child will tell you, there’s no end of things you can do with a cardboard box. Melbourne-based theatre company Asking For Trouble discovered it too, when they turned a pile of unwanted boxes into packages and parcels to create award-winning…

Cloud Man combines puppetry and storytelling for 4-7-year-olds

29 Jul 2011

Edinburgh Festival children's theatre show based on clouds

Sometimes they’re white and fluffy, more often than not they’re full of rain - but there’s something about clouds that holds our interest. The latest in a long line of artists to be inspired by the natural phenomenon is puppeteer Ailie Cohen, with her…

Soy de Cuba brings Havana dance, music and song

28 Jul 2011

The sound of contemporary Cuba visits 2011 Edinburgh Festival

With influences from South America, Spain and Africa dating back centuries, it’s fair to say Cuba is a melting pot of styles. So it stands to reason that the latest music and dance sensation to come out of the Caribbean island is equally diverse.

Rock the Ballet incorporates multiple dance styles

28 Jul 2011

Ballet gets a rock and pop makeover at 2011 Edinburgh Festival

If the word ballet leads you to thoughts of starched white tutus and tight buns, then Rock the Ballet is here to disabuse you of that notion. For although there will indeed be tight buns on stage, they’re considerably lower down than your average prima…

Fringe for (around) a fiver: Kids

22 Jul 2011

The affordable kids' shows appearing at the Fringe this year

Taking the whole family to a Fringe show can be an expensive business these days. So it pays to get out there early and soak up some previews. Here are just a few of the top shows that are charging £5 for their opening performances on 3-5 Aug.