The song circle is familiar territory for parents and carers of the under fives: here local performer Gill Bowman added her take on the popular format. In a cosy igloo-like tent strewn with colourful bean bags we were invited to join the circle. Bowman then began to lay a few firmly stated ground rules for the performance that she adheres to throughout. Anyone crying needs to leave until they are happy to come back and no one must touch any of the props unless invited to.
We were then led on a toddler's greatest hit parade, from classics like The Wheels on the Bus and Incy Wincy to some Scottish classics like Bee Baw Babbity and The Herring Song; there were even some lesser known poems thrown in too about Peter Rabbit and a counting hen. There were opportunities for some clapping, dancing and a bit of percussion as well as the singing. The children also had the opportunity to play some ukuleles themselves, though not the expensive ones as Bowman was keen to remind us. There's also a line about being able to buy coconuts “at Waitrose” which prompted a few ripples of derision from the mums in the back row.
The audience knew the score well and there seemed to be a surprising number of audience members known to Bowman by name. She is Edinburgh based and made sure we knew where to find her and buy her CDs. This is a popular format and you can't fault the quality of the act. It smoothly transitioned from song to song at brisk pace and the content was well chosen and interesting. I did feel however that as a performer Bowmont lacked the requisite warmth that's necessary when dealing with very young children. A solid example of the song circle genre but nothing you haven't seen already.