Human Child (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

Human Child

Sweetly-told tale based on W B Yeats poem

One of the fastest-growing Fringe trends in recent years is that of young companies eschewing gritty new writing in favour of creating quality, thoughtful and thought-provoking children’s theatre.

Irish company Collapsing Horse’s Human Child is very much in this mould, comprising craftsy furnishings, puppetry, gentle storytelling and songs led by ukulele. Familiar the trappings may be, but it is still fantastic to see children being treasured as audience members every bit as much as grown-ups. Not only has great care gone into the creation of Human Child but the four-strong cast deliver the show with contagious energy.

Based around W B Yeats’s poem The Stolen Child, the story sees dreamer and outcast Lelia disappear into her own imagination, winding up in the land of fairies. These sinister, colourfully-clad pixies aren’t as cute as they seem however, and are bent on stealing the ‘human child’ Lelia to eventually freeze her into a star.

The show gets off to a bit of a bumpy start, with scenes that jump between settings and don’t really let us settle into the characters. But things kick off in fairyland, and it’s here that the brilliant stagecraft of the troupe comes into its own.

Underbelly Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug (not 11), 12.50pm, £8--£9 (£7--£8).

Human Child

  • 3 stars

Collapsing Horse Inspired by changeling myths and the poetry of WB Yeats, Human Child is a blazing fantasy adventure story that mixes theatre, puppetry and live music for children from 8 to 80. ‘We walk into the theatre as adults … we leave as the child we have long left behind’ ( 'A mountain of…