The Tin Soldier

It’s a real shame temporary roadworks make accessing this show’s venue ever-so-slightly off-putting; also, that the venue is still relatively new, especially when it comes to putting on festive fair, and is up against highly marketed venues such as the King’s. Nevertheless, if you manage to find your way to The Studio on Potterrow, part of the city’s Festival Theatre, you’re in for a show with more heart and thought than most.

The cast are uniformly engaging

The Steadfast Tin Soldier” was Hans Christian Andersen’s first children’s story, so it’s appropriate that Mike Kenny’s new adaptation is the foundation for Scotland’s leading disability-led theatre company Bird of Paradise’s first winter show especially aimed at children. The story was a childhood favourite of director Garry Robson, not least because it resonated with him because it had a “disabled”, abandoned hero—and a conclusion which, while sad, nevertheless felt emotionally “real”. This new telling, using a combination of narrative, original live music by Lauren Gilmour and Audrey Tait, and puppets by the award-winning Victor Nikonenko, retains both.

Added resonance is given through the show’s framing device, in which the cast play a gang of outcast, disabled kids housed in “the Place”—an orphanage, although it’s location is left deliberately vague—who entertain themselves and bond over telling tales from a battered copy of “The Bumper Book of Children’s Stories”. We’re told central character Jack, played by BOP’s co-artistic director Robert Softley Gale, once hated, but now loves, the story of The Tin Soldier. Part of the reason why he and his slightly rebellious cast retell the story now is to explain why he changed his mind.

The titular tin soldier is incomplete, made from “left-overs”, and thrown out of the nursery for being “different”; this production doesn’t hide the parallels to disability in even the 21st century, although the script successfully balances the original tale’s timeless narrative with more current concerns. The cast are uniformly engaging, although Caroline Parker is a particular vision in purple as the principal BSL-signer. The result is an engaging and satisfying piece of theatre.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti

Traverse Theatre

W*nk Buddies

Traverse Theatre

Pride Plays

Multiple Venues

Oor Wullie

Oran Mor / Traverse Theatre

Fly Me To The Moon

Platform / Traverse Theatre

The Panopticon


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

“Once upon a time and far far away there were 25 tin soldiers. Brothers. Because they were all born from one single spoon. That must have been one flipping big spoon.” 

An exciting retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s first ever children’s story. 

Most Popular See More


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets