Nessie The Loch Ness Monster

*****

This show is a little bit away from the main hub of the Fringe, but is well worth the extra milage  as it was a delight to watch and the kids loved it. Once we had entered the venue, there were ‘little’ chairs at the front of the stage where the smaller children could sit if they liked, this would ensure that they didnt get stuck behind a tall grown up! The show is performed in a darkened room using ultraviolet light to light the puppets and the effect is stunning and so much fun! The story revolves around your hero and heroine (and the bad guy of course!) and there are lots of amusing accomplices to help tell the story within the grounds of Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness, Nessie is amazing!

The show is a decent length  and has an interval where drinks and snacks are available, and the children eagerly ran up to the parents to fill them in on all that they have seen and heard, also at the end of the performance, the puppets and puppeteers come out to meet the audience and have their photos taken. We had a great afternoon and this is a great show, very cleverly executed by a lovely company and well worth a watch.

Fairmilehead Parish Church Hall, 1A Frogston Road West. EH10 7AA

Aug 4,6-11,13-14,18   14.00PM  £8.00

Reviewed by Kath.

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Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen

*****

A production by Aireborne Theatre and by far my favourite childrens show of the Fringe so far! It was colourful,  energetic, fun and well put together. The cast were terrific, they were interacting with the audience before the show had started and the the two main characters had the support of every audience member before the show had even begun! This was a fast moving and lively performance which told a traditional fairytale in a fun and enchanting way and which had the audience totally drawn into it and waitng for every twist and turn that came the characters way

The musicians providing the  music and sound effects did a marvelous job with some lovely effects.  The choreography and costume changes were eye-catching and fun and all of these factors combined made this a thoroughly enjoyable experience, which I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending to any family attending the Fringe.

This is a theatre group who clearly love what they do and this shines out of their performance like a ray of sunlight, they should be very proud of this performance and I, for one will be watching to see if they return with any other shows in the future.

Zoo 140 The Pleasance EH8 9RR

August 9,11,13,15,17,19,21,23,25,27

14.15 pm (1hr) £8.00(£6.00)

Reviewed by Kath.

Petya and the Wolf

****

This is a show that was thoroughly enjoyed by myself and my daughter, and is, as the Fringe guide states suitable for slightly older children with a decent attention span as it based on Sergei Prokofiev’s orchestral adaptation of the story. The two gentlemen acting out the story as if they themselves were puppets used a lovely combination of music, lighting and dance to bring the tale to life and were effective in keeping the audience entranced from start to finish. The small but effective costume changes were amusing along with the remarkably basic props used and these helped bring the story to life, this was an enchanting little show and is well worth a visit if you are visiting the Fringe.

The Fringe guide states that this show is suitable for children at 4+, I would however suggest that this would depend on the individual child as there is quite a bit going on with the music and character changes, but that said, a great show, and thoroghly enjoyable.

August 4-7, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26. 10.30 am £9.00

August 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, 27 10.30 am £8.00

Assembly Roxy, Roxburgh Place EH8 9SU

Reviewed by Kath.

One Hour Only

***

From the very high attendance and an audience composed of all ages, Sabrina Mahfouz’s play on the subject of brothel sex is creating much interest. The play is set in a bedroom in an expensive London brothel.

Marley (Nadia Clifford), aged 21, is preparing herself for her first client on her first night. AJ (Faraz Ayub) enters. He is trying to look cool but he is apprehensive. It transpires it is also his first time in a brothel. His mates have paid for the hour as a 21st birthday present. Thus, they can both be described as brothel virgins.

Marley puts on an east European accent thinking this will add to her sexuality but accidentally she slips into her London accent. For AJ this spoils the whole atmosphere. For the remainder of the play he keeps his clothes on and Marley does not take off here dressing gown. What ensues is a long and basically friendly conversation, examining the circumstances why on this particular night they are where they are and the whole issue of sex for payment. AJ, for perhaps the first time in his life, discards his macho view of himself.

Prostitutes are generally regarded by novelists and journalists in a dismissive way. The value of this play is in dispelling certain myths about all prostitutes. Marley is highly intelligent, confident and ambitious. She does not do drugs. Her character is complex; she is no two dimensional figure. As to whether she is typical of her profession, I would doubt.

Another general conclusion would be that it is safer for the girls to work in licensed brothels rather than on the streets. However, the play’s weakness is that the Marley/AJ contact would be a most rare occurrence and some of their conversation does lack credibility. That said, it is a compelling watch.

Reviewed by Ben

Underbelly Cowgate/Belly Button; 61a

2 to 26 August 2012 (not 13)

17.20 – 18.20

Fringe Programme Page Number: 306

Winston on the Run

***

It is Winston Churchill as an old man that we can remember best from old black and white film footage. He was an old man for a long time, passing away, aged 91, in 1965. But go back over 60 years to the year 1899 when, as a 24 year old, Churchill, the son of a Lord and from a family steeped in politics, needed to make his mark in life.

As the young Churchill, Freddy Machin gives a powerful performance if, at times, over robustly. The play is set at the bottom of a mine shaft in South Africa. He is on the run from the Boers. His life depends on whether the mine manager will help him escape. As he awaits his fate, he recalls the events of the previous months.

After failing to win a by-election, he becomes the war correspondent for the Morning Post to cover the Boer War. Thus his South African adventures begin. Sound and lighting effects help to create the noise of battle and his deprivations in avoiding capture.

Of course, we know he did escape, become an MP and the rest, as they say, is history. This play effectively reveals Churchill’s dogged and determined personality at a pivotal time in his life. Indeed, such characteristics were to play a crucial part in Britain’s survival during World War II.

Reviewed by Ben

Pleasance Courtyard: 33

1 to 27 August 2012 (not 8, 15 & 22)

14.45 – 15.45

Fringe Programme Page Number: 335

Tam O’Shanter

*****

At the outset, let me declare that I am a Scot. Furthermore, a number of years ago I was asked to name my favourite poem. I instantly replied Tam O’Shanter. Thus the poem is ingrained in my psyche. First and foremost, it is a riveting narrative and, secondly, some lines are wonderful to recite, Tam’s character for instance “a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum”.

To stage a theatrical version is a bold and ambitious project. Communicado Theatre Company’s version, devised and directed by Gerry Mulgrew, has triumphantly risen to the challenge. With a troupe of 11 accomplished performers, many of whose faces will be recognisable, the poem is given fresh life in song, dance and in humorous verse both from Burns and modern additions. The additional material exemplifies the period when the poem was written, a domineering kirk and, in direct contrast, the licentiousness of the inn. We all know where Tam preferred to spend his time.

Theatrical companies have at their disposal all manner of technical wizardry to create visual effects. In the Kirk-Alloway scene and when Tam and Maggie are being pursued by Cutty-Sark and the “hellish legion”, these are used spectacularly and unforgettably.

In the programme notes, Gerry Mulgrew wonders whether Burns would have approved. I am sure he would have loved it – even more, if he could have a share of the takings. How will this production play to non-Scots? Sure, they won’t understand all the language but the music and visual quality would have universal appeal.

Reviewed by Ben

Assembly Hall (Mound Place): 35

2 to 26 August 2012 (not 8, 13 & 20)

12.00 – 13.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 325

Monsters Got Talent

****

Monster Got Talent is a fun and interactive puppet show which all of the children were instantly drawn into and involved with. It is housed within the Pleasance Green which is set up purely for children’s entertainment with the children being sat upon beanbags at the front and the adults a bit further back on the stools. The puppets are bright and amusing and  and the puppeteer Toby had the children involved in the show from a very early start, there were also quite a few quips in there to keep the grown ups entertained. Whether you are familiar with the TV talent show set up or not, this will be an easy show for the kids to grasp and join in. I would always recommend families to visit the Pleasance itself during the festival due to it’s child and family friendly atmosphere and this is definately a show that I would recommend is added to the must see list.

Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance EH8 9TJ

August 1-19, 25-26 13.00pm (45mins) £5.00

Reviewed by Kath.