Reviews & features: Kelly Apter

253 reviews

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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…

Spiltmilk Say Dance

21 Aug 20133 stars

An informative and entertaining mash-up of old-school social dances with incongruous backing music

This show by Spiltmilk Dance is as much about education as it is entertainment. Did you know that the twist was the first social dance that didn’t need a partner? Or that the hand jive came about so people could dance in busy bars? All this and more…

Slightly Fat Features

22 Aug 20133 stars

Ensemble buffoonery and a grand finale

A coming together of circus skills, comedy and chaos, Slightly Fat Features strikes a bizarre balance between the brilliant and the banal. Maybe that’s the point, but you can’t help but think if they stuck to the former, it’d make for an even better…

Acclaimed comic actor Patrice Thibaud teams up with Jose Montalvo for Don Quichotte

21 Aug 2013

The famed Spanish novel is being transformed into a comedic dance piece for the EIF 2013

If he lived in the UK, it’s safe to say Patrice Thibaud would be a busy man each December. An acclaimed comic actor in his native France, Thibaud’s style lends itself perfectly to pantomime – which is why Jose Montalvo’s new show is pulling in audiences…

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…

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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…

Stuart: A Life Backwards

21 Aug 20134 stars

A touching meeting of minds in adaptation of Alexander Masters’ acclaimed story

The tale of an unlikely friendship, which blossoms in the most unlikely of situations, Stuart: A Life Backwards has leapt from book to TV film to stage, making a smooth transition at every turn. Partly, this is because of the quality of writing and…

Five choreographers discuss their contribution to Scottish Ballet's Dance Odysseys

16 Aug 2013

The EIF performance features new works from James Cousins, Martin Lawrance and Kristen McNally

James Cousins Which companies did you dance with before moving into choreography? Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, then as a freelance performer with choreographers such as Marc Brew and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. When did you know that you wanted to…

The Lock In

16 Aug 20135 stars

The Demon Barbers' hip hop and folk fusion raises the roof

Oh to be locked up in a pub with this lot. Some shows demonstrate great skill and technique, some offer strong musicianship, and some create the kind of atmosphere and energy that leaves you high on life. The Lock In does all three. Going out on a…

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Husband and wife team YMAP give dance a new look Madame Freedom

16 Aug 2013

Hyo Jin Kim and Hyung Su Kim blend live performance with striking visuals

While some dance shows at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival are going for the stripped back and bare approach, YMAP (Your Media Arts Project) is taking its performance to the opposite extreme. Named after the 1957 Korean film of the same…

Out of His Skin

16 Aug 20133 stars

2Faced Dance Company explore dark side of life

Each time 2Faced Dance Company returns to the Fringe, it has stepped up a gear. From a slightly immature start, it has blossomed into a professional company with strong dance technique and ambitious ideas. But in some ways, Out of His Skin is a bit too…

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…

Help! My Supply Teacher is Magic

11 Aug 20132 stars

TV show makes difficult transition to the stage

Once upon a time, pulling a rabbit out of a hat or sawing a lady in half, had an audience in raptures. But in this age of Derren Brown and David Blaine trickery, we’re looking for something slightly more sophisticated. That said, the wonders of…

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…

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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…

Diego y Ulises

5 Aug 20133 stars

Dance show of masculinity in confined quarters

Regular Fringe-goers will be used to sitting in shows where the performers out-number the audience. But this new venue reduces it right down to just you, on your own, in a booth. Curtains drawn, headphones in place – and then the light comes on.

Be Captivated

4 Aug 20133 stars

Young talent from the Central School of Ballet on the rise

Ballet school may give you the foundation on which to build a career – but live performance gives you the tools of the trade. Which is exactly why Central School of Ballet sends its final year students out on the road, under the banner of Ballet…

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…

The Lock In mixes hip hop with traditional English folk dance

30 Jul 2013

Demon Barbers bring new show to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Mixing hip hop with traditional English folk dance, the Demon Barbers are on a mission to make clogging and Morris dancing as cool as breakdance. Kelly Apter finds out how

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CBBC's Help! My Supply Teacher is Magic comes to Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

30 Jul 2013

James Went and his fellow classroom tricksters transfer their show from TV to the stage

As the children in CBBC’s Help! My Supply Teacher is Magic all find out, there’s something wonderfully shocking about discovering that the adult at the front of the classroom is actually a magician, and not a teacher after all. But bringing the hit…

Dance show Cambuyón set for 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Interdisciplinary take on the evolution of rhythm with the sea at its core

For over a hundred years, it was a by-word for friendly trading. Today, it’s the title of a show that celebrates rhythm in all its forms. In the mid-19th century, British ships too large to dock in Canary Island ports would hang out a sign saying…

2Faced Dance bring new show Out of His Skin to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Complexities of the modern male brought to the Fringe by 2Faced Dance

Bored with life and looking for the next high to escape the monotony, the character in 2Faced Dance’s new show couldn’t be more different from the driven young men who are dancing it. Renowned for its intelligent, high-energy performances that blur the…

Big Wooden Horse theatre company adapting picture book Aliens Love Underpants

30 Jul 2013

The extra-terrestrial adventure is coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Author Claire Freedman and illustrator Ben Cort may have come up with some fiendish rhymes and colourful illustrations in their popular picture book Aliens Love Underpants, but at just a couple of hundred words long, there’s not much in the way of…

Theatre of Widdershins bring Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune to Fringe 2013

29 Jul 2013

Widdershins' Andy Lawrence appreciates 'strong sense of darkness that runs through' the fairytale

Stories told in childhood stay with us forever, and there can’t be many parents out there who don’t recall the weaselly wonder of little old Rumpelstiltskin. It’s a tale ripe for theatricality, and if ever there was man to do it, it’s Andy Lawrence. In…