Reviews & features: Kelly Apter

280 reviews

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Rhythmic Circus: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

14 Aug 20145 stars

Joyous show fusing superb musicianship and slick dance routines raises the roof

It’s impossible to know for sure, but the final song in Rhythmic Circus’ set might just be the most joyful five minutes at this year’s Fringe. Admittedly, we’re already in a very happy place by the time they play it, having spent an hour in the…

Be-Dom

3 Sep 20144 stars

Percussion explosion that puts a smile on your face at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It takes you a few minutes to realise, but when you do, your admiration for this Portuguese six-piece rockets even further. The realisation? That not s single percussion instrument on the stage (and there are a lot of them) could be bought in a music…

Emily Brown and the Thing

3 Aug 20145 stars

Slick storybook adaptation with a big heart

Emily Brown had successfully completed two adventures when the little boy sitting next to me turned to his mum. ‘I wish there was another adventure,’ he said longingly. ‘There is,’ replied mum, ‘she goes on three’. The look of glee on his face, when he…

Potted Sherlock

9 Aug 20145 stars

A riotous romp through Conan Doyle’s back catalogue

For over 100 years, Sherlock Holmes has been entertaining readers with his fierce intelligence, interesting caseload and slightly maverick approach. So anyone attempting to encapsulate all 60 of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes tales (the four biggies, plus…

New Zealand dance and theatre company MAU visit 2014 Edinburgh International Festival with I AM

15 Jul 2014

Choreographer Lemi Ponifasio on the creative influences behind his new show I AM

‘Inspired by’ is a loose term for many creators, but when Samoan-born choreographer Lemi Ponifasio talks about his influences, it’s best not to expect a literal representation. Ponifasio’s New Zealand-based collective MAU was last seen at the Edinburgh…

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Once Upon a Nightmare

18 Aug 20143 stars

Dynamic adventure play in need of streamlining at Edinburgh Festival Free Fringe

Although there is much to enjoy in this fantasy adventure from Box Step Productions, including some fine performances, there is one over-riding problem with Once Upon a Nightmare – it wants to be a film. It came as no surprise to discover, after…

Movin’ Melvin Brown: The Tap-Dancing Preacher

18 Aug 20143 stars

Gospel music with a little hot shoe shuffle at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Melvin Brown is almost part of the Fringe furniture, and as such has to constantly re-invent his shows for new and returning audiences. This latest outing finds Brown in preacher mode, singing gospel songs and clearly lighting a fire under the more…

Land of the Dragon: Gwlad y Ddraig

18 Aug 20144 stars

Imaginative and dramatic retelling of Welsh folk tale at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

You only have to look around the audience at PuppetSoup’s engaging show to see that it works for all-comers. From toddlers through to grown-ups (many of them there without a young companion), there is enough here to entertain any age. This is, in…

Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman

10 Aug 20144 stars

Gravitas with giggles by the barrel load at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Most comedians think they’ve got something important to say. But sitting in front of Bridget Christie, you get the sense that something fairly seismic is happening. In her own small way, she is handing women a set of empowering tools, opening men’s eyes…

Decomposed! My Brother's Turning into a Zombie

9 Aug 20144 stars

Funny, horror-themed kids' classical music show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Finding a way in to classical music for children is an endless challenge. The misconception that it’s boring and meant exclusively for old people is a genuine hurdle the genre has to leap. So it’s refreshing to find the Classical Mayhem company…

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Chalk About

9 Aug 20143 stars

Children's Fringe show full of dusty dancing explores who we are

A stage floor covered in chalk drawings greets us as we enter the theatre. An image bank that grows by the second, as our hosts Christine and Hendrik continually draw around themselves – asking audience members to help in their pursuit. It’s clear…

Our Teacher is a Troll

9 Aug 20144 stars

Fantastic performances bring Dennis Kelly's book to life at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There’s some very clever wordplay in Dennis Kelly’s book, Our Teacher is a Troll (as you might expect from the writer of Matilda the Musical) – so it takes some equally clever staging to flip it from page to stage. Happily, this co-production from…

Otiz Cannelloni’s History of Magic - Abridged

5 Aug 20143 stars

Witty guide to the magician’s craft for children at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

Attending Otiz Cannelloni ’s Fringe show, is like sitting in the garden/living room/church hall of a children’s birthday party. While this may sound more like a complaint than a compliment, it’s meant in the nicest possible way. Cannelloni’s laid back…

The Comedy of Errors

4 Aug 20143 stars

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School present take on Shakespeare with broad appeal

Finding new and exciting ways to deliver Shakespeare to children is a challenging, but by no means impossible, task. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is making a speciality of it, after last year’s superb Romeo & Juliet, and now that farcical tale of…

The Fantastical Story Factory

4 Aug 20143 stars

Improvised cleverness and musical fun at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It’s impossible not to marvel at the talent and skill that goes into an improvised musical. The ability to piece together a rhyming couplet in your head at a moment’s notice, lock into your colleague’s on-the-spot harmony, and synchronise jazz hands and…

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Musical Mornings With Mil’s Trills

2 Aug 20144 stars

Gentle introduction to the world of music

As adults going to live music shows, we have countless opportunities to hear strong vocals, consummate musicianship and original material. Younger audiences, however, seem destined to be fed an endless diet of recorded music and age-old rhymes. But not…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

This is Brasil - The Show set for 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

29 Jul 2014

Music, dance, film and football in an exuberant production celebrating the spirit of carnival

The World Cup may have dampened the spirits of Brazil’s residents, but as audiences will witness this August, triumphing over adversity is in the country’s DNA. Led by Brazilian singing sensation, Magary Lord, This is Brasil – The Show brings…

Dance show Missing set for series of performances in 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

29 Jul 2014

Poignant duet about lives left in limbo by Dublin-based CoisCéim Dance Theatre

An average of 8000 people are reported missing in Ireland every year. While the majority are found, those who remain untraced leave behind a sea of heartbreak and unanswered questions. Dublin-based CoisCéim Dance Theatre is known for its engaging…

The Warriors: A Love Story visits Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

25 Jul 2014

Multi-media dance ensemble captures war-time romance inspired by American-German couple

Sifting through a trunk of mementos after his grandmother’s death, a young musician starts to see his grandparents through different eyes. When they fell in love; how she, a young German dancer, survived the 1945 bombing of Dresden; their post-war life…

Lenka Vagnerová brings two dance pieces to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Czech dance star's Riders and La Loba features singer Jana Vébrová and actress Tereza Voríšková

As the judges take to the stage, the tension starts to mount. The 20th annual Czech Dance Platform (CDP) has just come to a close, and here in the Ponec Theatre on the outskirts of Prague, this year’s award-winners are about to be announced. In keeping…