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Think Snow White, think pretty young girl hanging out with seven little fellas. Not in C Theatre’s production. The dwarves have been replaced by a seven-headed troll, cleverly sewn into a large coat and performed by an actor with multiple personalities. Snow’s mother is no longer a one- dimensional baddie, but a lonely woman mourning her dead husband, while the handsome prince is a gold-digging cad who Snow wants nothing to do with. A piece of genuine theatre, rather than kiddie entertainment, Snow White is too dark and humourless to keep the under-sixes happy. But older children and adults will both find these well-rounded characters rather engaging.

C Theatre is also responsible for Red Riding Hood and the Wolves. Again, a red velvet cape is all that remains of the original, and all those looking for a happy-go-Iucky Red skipping to granny’s house will be found wanting. Equally dark - both in content and staging - but with gentle brushes of humour and puppetry, this is the more successful of the two. Noisy wolves with red piercing eyes may send little ones scurrying to the door. But for the over-fives, looking for a mild scare after breakfast, this is a great introduction to the world of real theatre.

Kipper TlE’s Hansel and Gretel takes a more traditional route. Three actors dressed in patched costumes morph their way through a host of humorous larger than life characters. Peppering the action with songs, modern-day references and characters borrowed from other fairytales, they try to appeal to both adults and children. A slightly perplexing structure, bare stage and largely forgettable tunes stop this from achieving the greatness of Kipper’s other Fringe show, The Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business. (Kelly Apter)

I Snow White and Herl Riding Hood. (2. 08/0 /'0l 5 I05), until 2’9 Aug. l 1.20am (alternate (lays). 5‘/'..")0 l5‘5)..’i0 513.350). lli'iiise/(iiirl Gretel. C too. 08/0 /0i' 5/05. until 29 Aug. lpiii, .l‘/.:')0 (£5.50 f‘li.:50i.

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.‘ 3:31 THE LEGEND OF PERSEUS Mythical storytelling 000

Big Wooden Horse's version of classical mythology's most exciting adventure is told from the perspective of a yeting man. picking through the clutter in his late grandfather's attic. In lieu of a cast of thousands. performer Adam Bampton-Smith curls his voice and physique around more than 20 iconic characters. While some of these characterisations are more clearly defined than others. the treacherous King Polydectes. the fisherman. Dictys. and Hermes played here as a Cockney wide boy are particularly funny and engaging.

There are some atmospheric scenes to savour in this hour of traditional storytelling. such as the spine-chilling moment when Perseus enters the Gorgon's lair. And everything is nicely augmented by a fine repertoire of classical music. from Carmina Burana to Wagner 's Ride of the Valkyries. (Allan Radcliffe)

I Pleasance Courtyard. 556 6550. until 29 Aug (not 23). l 1.30am. £6.50.


Sophisticated improvisation for kids 0...

Five storytellers dressed in stripy pyjamas and Surrounded by musical instruments create theatrical magic as effortlessly as breathing. Well- schooled in the art of improvisation. the Yarnbards turn audience suggestions into clever. funny and often bi/arre tales. All five performers are impressively (itiick-witted. jumping in as and when reQuiied with no prior consultation.

This time around we had a stamp making machine. a horrible aunty and a mean Wizard. but every show is different from start to finish. As much for adults as children (most of whom

Will remember Yarnbarder. Richard Vranch from his piano days on Whose Line is it Anyway?). this show rests at the more sophisticated end of kiddie entertainment. Inevitany any improvisation show is only as strong as the material provided so give your little ones' imagination a stoke before going in. (Kelly Apter)

I Pleasance Dome. 556 6550. until 29 Aug (not 22). 5.20pm, £6.50.


Benevolent prince set to song 0...

If you're unfamiliar with this Oscar Wilde story. then this is an ideal opportunity to hear it. Daniel Cainer weaves animation. live music and reading to capture the charm. sadness and irony of the tale. The story centres on the statue of a prince who. realising how poor some of his former subjects are. persuades a passing swallow to help bring joy to their lives.

Cainer makes much better use of a data projector than many a PowerPoint presentation I have sat through. mixing Jane Ray’s book illustrations with animated sequences and a special on-screen appearance from Bill Oddie. Despite its target age of 3+. The Happy Prince is far better suited to older children of six and over; although the fluffy birds Cainer handed out meant wee ones in the audience got something out of it too.

(Fiona Campbell)

I Sweet on the Grassmarket, Apex City Hotel, 0870 247 0736. until 29 Aug. 70.30am, £5.50 (E4).


Magical trio of tales

Nicole and Martin‘s mission is to bring traditional fairytales to the kids of today. And the dynamic Swiss-French duo accomplish this with aplomb. Of their triptych oi iconic stories being played out in the little white tent in George Square. the most familiar is Hansel and Gretel. which is also their most ingenious staging (00000). Versatile actors. accomplished circus tricksters and acrobats. the pair are equally compelling whether playing the stern parents or wide-eyed youngsters. There are some great