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. I had not reckoned on the powers of Tania Czajika, the sole performer in this tale of one very hungry rabbit. She not only manipulates Lapin and his puppet friends, putting on charmingly distinctive voices, but also acts as herself, with her incredibly mobile face conveying all her struggles as she endeavours to find Lapin the breakfast that he desires.
From entering, the children’s attention was instantly grabbed by the colourful and simple set and they were evidently kept involved throughout the show, whispering plot points or funny parts up to their parents beside them. With only one person onstage, it might seem difficult to keep things interesting but Tania’s interaction with her puppets never lets things get dull. Just at the point when the crowd starts to fidget, she gets everyone singing Frère Jacques and inviting – rather than forcing – the kids to participate in a bird dance.
This show does not have an overly complicated narrative but it has just the right rhythm and story arc that a children’s story of this kind should. The tale is lent a rather enchanting quality through the lilting tones of Tania’s French accent with a touch of Edinburgh intonation. Unlike I had feared, the French phrases are not overwhelming, although their presence is obvious and no child will miss the obvious educational thrust behind the whole show. A delightful touch of France in Edinburgh.