Belt Up's 'Octavia'

Belt Up’s interactive oeuvre is kind of perfect for children’s theatre. Their brand of immersive productions has been honed for a couple of years now, but never with kids specifically in mind until now, and the results are quite charming. First off, from the time everyone enters the space, a quaint little forest facsimile, members of the ensemble are singing and dancing, incorporating their new visitors as they enter. Eventually, they grab the largest book in the space, and a fairy tale springs to life all around and within the audience. The story is refreshingly not a standard fairy tale, with stronger themes such as tolerance, sacrifice and understanding ruling the day rather than a common and cliched ‘happily ever after’ scenario. As fun as the show is, though, it still feels very ‘straight’, with the audience actually sitting and watching for a lion’s share of the performance and really not allowing people to fully explore the brilliantly realised environment. There is also a very traditional manipulation of the sonic environment, with an out of tune piano and shaky (yet enthusiastic) singing and vocal work attacking our aural systems. Part of me hopes that at some future Fringe, the Belt Up ladies and lads would just make a kids version of their Dreamscape experience (which is not the official Fringe schedule, but is probably their best work this year). Because bringing children into more of a non-linear environment could tap into the well of imagination that wasn’t as deep as it should have been for Octavia.

Since you’re here…

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Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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The Blurb

Magically interactive feast for the imagination from the ensemble the Scotsman promises you'll find 'impossible not to be swept along by'. The first family show from EIF award winners 2008. An enchanting fairytale for all ages. www.beltuptheatre.com

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