Back from the Future

Back from the Future

Fans of Marty and Doc beware; the similar title should not make you think that this has any link to the classic sci-fi movies. This is an original piece by Toby Mitchell, focusing on a time traveller Dominic Mitchell (played by Toby Mitchell) who has travelled from 2042 to rescue his father Toby Mitchell who disappeared almost 29 years ago... 

Charlie Chuck's Chuckasaurus Show

Charlie Chuck's Chuckasaurus Show

I never expected not to ‘get’ a children’s show. Adult shows may be esoteric, bizarre or pretentious but at least with children you know you where you are; somewhere between a fart joke and a sing-along usually... 

soulspace

soulspace

Even just turning off Princes Street into the graveyard of St Cuthbert’s Parish Church is peaceful. There is an instantaneous hush from the traffic and one feels a sense of escape from the busy city rush... 

The Takeaway Story Show

The Takeaway Story Show

‘I knew we should have booked a longer time slot,’ said one of the actors as another struggled to make it offstage while pretending to be a beached shark. It is fortunate, however, that the company resisted booking anything longer; had the show gone on for more than its one and a quarter hours, it would have damaged this otherwise highly enjoyable production... 

Yurtakids! Presents Cinderella

Yurtakids! Presents Cinderella

This is Cinderella, but not as you know it. A prince who literally eats his feelings, a lack of fairy godmothers and a pair of tapdancing ugly sisters – much of what Factory Compagnia Transadriatica has done with this production is new and interesting... 

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most youth-filled of all Shakespeare’s plays, with the star-crossed teen lovers and their idealistic yet doomed belief than young love can conquer years of family rivalry... 

Sparkling Granny

Sparkling Granny

For a brief time in my life, I helped primary school children improve their reading. Its main effect was to reveal the mind-numbing dullness of those books that are intended to develop literacy skills... 

A Boy Who Cried Wolf

A Boy Who Cried Wolf

Ren is performing before the show begins, making up a silly version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with the audience’s help. It was no way part of the show and was never referred to again but it gave us a taster of the ability of this storytelling duo to immediately get the young audience on side and engage them in the most entertaining manner... 

Funny Stuff for Happy People

Funny Stuff for Happy People

Wearing a kilt, a red stripy top and a pair of gold earrings, the bearded Martin ‘Bigpig’ Mor somehow made me think of a Scottish pirate in a children’s storybook. In a way, it is hard to describe this show, which relies so much on the cartoonish like personality of Mor, but it is perhaps best summed up by describing it as a series of simple tricks which require much audience participation... 

James Campbell's Comedy 4 Kids

James Campbell's Comedy 4 Kids

Watching James Campbell launch into his family friendly stand-up routine makes one wonder why there are not more stand-ups for children around. After all, children also have easily recognisable experiences that are shared throughout the age group, things that can appeal to their joint sense of humour... 

Joshua Seigal Presents the Legend of Ooshus Magooshus (And Lots of Other Poems)

Joshua Seigal Presents the Legend of Ooshus Magooshus (And Lots of Other Poems)

One can’t help but like Joshua Seigal. He is so full of bounce and yet completely unflappable, both key qualities when working as a children’s entertainer. By the end of the show, two children are lying flat on their backs in the aisle... 

Storytime!

Storytime!

Storytime! felt less like a finely honed performance and more like an Apprentice challenge: in two days come up with a way of entertaining a group of five year olds for an hour. Don’t spend too much money and, preferably, don’t put too much effort into it... 

The Amazing Bubble Man

The Amazing Bubble Man

When I worked at C venues, the Bubble Man had an almost legendary status: he was a guaranteed sell-out every year. Unprepared parents would turn up 15 minutes before the show was about to start, desperate for a ticket and hang around competitively until the four reserves were released... 

The End Is Nigh!

The End Is Nigh!

Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge presents itself as a place of knowledge and relaxation, of playfulness and learning. It therefore came as a surprise to attend an event which was drier than the complimentary gin on offer... 

Help! My Supply Teacher is Magic

Help! My Supply Teacher is Magic

This show is based on the popular CBBC series of the same name, in which magicians go into schools in disguise and pretend to be supply teachers, amazing the pupils in the process. Being a stage show this, of course, cannot follow the same format so instead it is a magic show involving some of the cast of the show... 

The Maharajah and the Kohinoor

The Maharajah and the Kohinoor

The Kohinoor diamond is notoriously supposed to carry a curse which falls on all male owners of the stone. Using this diamond and its one time owner Maharajah Duleep Singh as a focal point, this small drama company have created a piece which remind us exactly what a terrible legacy British colonialism has left behind... 

Grim Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Grim Tales from the Brothers Grimm

In an appropriately darkened room we listened as the wonderfully eccentric Viktor Wynd, multidisciplinary artist and wearer of green-and-yellow-checked suits, regaled us with suitably gothic style fairytales for almost an hour... 

The Big Bite-Size Play Factory's Family Creatures

The Big Bite-Size Play Factory's Family Creatures

The Big Bite-Size Play Factory’s Family Creatures may seem an impenetrable sort of name but early into watching this show it became apparent that this was a sketch show intended for children... 

A Very, Very, Very Sleepy Princess

A Very, Very, Very Sleepy Princess

While Sleeping Beauty and the entire kingdom was asleep who did the dusting for all those hundreds of years? What would happen if the wrong person had kissed her? These are the sorts of questions – long in need of an answer – that Scallywags Theatre Company sets out to answer in this revision of the traditional fairytale... 

Huggers - Free Festival

Huggers - Free Festival

This show is something of a smorgasbord of family entertainment. With a revolving line-up of performers, Huggers aims to appeal to adults with its cabaret format while still being child friendly... 

Lissa and NeeNee's Riverside Adventure

Lissa and NeeNee's Riverside Adventure

They say to never work with children. After watching this performance of Lissa and NeeNee’s Riverside Adventure I could see why. At the start of the show, they invited children to come onstage whenever they want or to dance around in the audience... 

YurtaKids! A Story of a Man and His Shadow

YurtaKids! A Story of a Man and His Shadow

One imagines that the members of the Principio Attivo Teatro are absolutely lethal at charades. This 55 minute piece is almost entirely wordless. A Man and His Shadow is slightly absurd mime theatre which takes place in a world where a man can fall in love with a balloon and do battle with his own shadow... 

Titus

Titus

After challenging the fourth wall in the beginning, Joseph Arkley, in the eponymous role, stood with his two feet firmly planted on the edge of a desk, not moving until the closing moments of the show... 

Robbie the Robot Learns English - And Saves the Day!

Robbie the Robot Learns English - And Saves the Day!

Just because a show is intended for children is no excuse for bad acting. This cleaning drama focuses on two young girls who have been left alone by their parents and the house has become an utter tip... 

Bec & Tom's Awesome Laundry

Bec & Tom's Awesome Laundry

If all children’s shows were this good we would all be going to see them with or without children. Comedians Bec Hill and Tom Goodliffe have teamed up to create this show all about doing the laundry, a seemingly dull chore which they have changed into something enthralling and entertaining just as easily as they have transformed hackneyed fart jokes into original pieces of wit... 

The Firebird

The Firebird

An hour and a half sounds like a long time to keep a group of children entertained for. However, this performance of a traditional Russian fairytale by Purves Puppets works like a miniature theatre going experience, with a 15 minute interval, scene changes and programmes for sale... 

A Mysterical, Disneycal Choose Your Own Adventure

A Mysterical, Disneycal Choose Your Own Adventure

Sadly, this Disney inspired show is lighter and emptier than even Snow White’s mind. The concept is that Aladdin and Jasmine, planning the Genie’s retirement party, have forgotten to buy the supplies, requiring them to call on the audience to help them decide what to do and therefore influence the course of the entire play, which along the way meets several of the most loved and hated figures from childhood... 

The Curious Case of the Ugglie Wump and Other Mysterious Monsters

The Curious Case of the Ugglie Wump and Other Mysterious Monsters

Upon entering this show, one was first struck by the grey and white cut-out set which looked like illustrations from a Dr Seuss book that’s gone over to the dark side. Next you noticed the heads, as the cast members took it in turn to pop their faces, concealed with animalistic masks, around the scenery... 

Scatterbrained

Scatterbrained

In their fantastic, feast-for-the-eyes costumes – including brightly coloured converses and Oompa Loompa style facepaint – Dolphin School Theatre Company put together a very physical piece of theatre: a tale of Gerald the giant and his small friend Martha in this story about dementia... 

The Just So Stories

The Just So Stories

With only four simply dressed actresses and a range of household objects, Red Table Theatre act out four of Kipling’s tales from The Just So Stories, sticking very closely to his own words... 

Brave Macbeth

Brave Macbeth

This is Macbeth the musical as though it has been rewritten by a Monty Python fan and acted by a drama group, with och-aye accents and just a touch of camp; altogether it makes for a rather enjoyable combination... 

Lapin Wants Breakfast

Lapin Wants Breakfast

I confess that I was not particularly looking forward to this show, struggling to imagine how, as the Fringe guide put it, a show ‘dotted with carefully repeated French keywords’ could be made interesting or stimulating... 

The Very Scariesome Lollipop Lady

The Very Scariesome Lollipop Lady

Martha McBrier manages to get a lot of mileage from a story which highlights the importance of road safety. With her traffic light coloured nails and soothing demeanour, she is an appropriate narrator for this rhyming tale and its surprising number of twists and turns... 

Something in My Shoe

Something in My Shoe

Those who rushed in to Ian Saville’s magic show just before starting were in danger of thinking that the performance had already begun. Saville stood at the front, entertaining the audience with gentle wit by informing them that the act had yet to get going... 

War of the Worms

War of the Worms

Don’t let the title of this show suggest to you giant worms or even aliens battling it out; here is war in its loosest sense. This fudged evolution tale is told by author (and many other things) Richard Digance, helped by his daughter Rosie... 

Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies and the Giant Geriatric Generator

Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies and the Giant Geriatric Generator

There’s no denying that children enjoy silly sounds. This must have been Scottish author Stuart Reid’s guiding principle when putting together this show to promote his two books starring Gorgeous George; the performance overflows with alliterative phrases and odd noises in an attempt to capture a sense of this fictional world...