Festival Kids

HEARTBREAK SOUP Two little boys . . . 0000

Cuddy is lying on a hospital bed. \r"./21|l|lig. For what. we don't know. but as the play unfolds a heartbreaking story emerges of a childhood led in slow motion. due to a congenital heart defect. Which all sounds very serious and tragic and is. of course ~ but not in Heartbreak Soup.

This energetic and perfectly paced t\.'.Io—hander is full of Joy and spirit. Dressed in pyjamas. l 1 year-old Cuddy and his rnysterrous 12-year-old pal Dan look back over Cuddy's favourite memories —- all accessed through a series of colourful draws under his metal NHS bed. Despite the weighty subject matter. writer and director. Laura Lindow doesn't get bogged down in medical Jargon or excess sentimentality.

Even the closing moments. when the lull tear-ierking details are revealed. her use of metaphor gives Heartbrein Soup a real lightness of touch and magical poignancy. (Kelly Apterl I P/et’isance Courtyard. 5:36 (55:30. (int/I25 Aug (not 14/. I 1.30mi). 57.50 (5‘6).


Through the looking-glass and beyond 000

There are four children's shows at the Fringe about Lewis Carroll's A/ice in l/i/onder/and. so fans of the fairytale have their pick. First-time playwright. Ben Harrison and Single Leaf productions present Finding Alice. an entertaining mix of live music and spirited acting performed without a set.

Leading us into another realm is Miriam. a girl who reads under her bedcovers with a flashlight. After turning out the light. fvlirram wakes up surrounded by a singing Mad Hatter. a hurried Mr. W Rabbit and a sleeping Dorrnouse. Miriam gets herself in trouble with the Queen of Hearts for possessing a hook about Alice. who is

banned from living in Wonderland. The cast sing clever songs accompanied by guitar. saxophone and flute. and they easily recreate the gleeful lunacy of Wonderland through comical dance sequences and witty one-liners. It's unfortunate. however. that there‘s no colourful backdrop to boost this energetic show from fairly good to first-rate. (Theresa Munoz.) I C too. 0845 260 i234. unti/ 25 August (not I7 8 24). I lam. f..‘()‘.50—£‘8.5() ($460—$650).


A successful stand-up comedian and novelist. Andrew Clover fuses both

talents in his enjoyable new kids show.

Essentially an hour of improvised storytelling. Clover draws heavrly on the Vivid imagination of his young audience. As Such. the children are really the stars of this show although it's Clover who deftly draws the bizarre. sweet and often hilarious lines out of them.

Quickly building a warm. friendly but witty rapport with both parents and their charges. Clover is hugely likeable with an infectious enthusiasm for conceiving and delivering stories. The final segment. where we all close our eyes as Clover leads us thrOugh an

POTTED PIRATES Hilarity on the high seas 00000

Sensible pirate devotee Jeff just wants to give a serious, educational lecture about famous pirates. His crewmate Dan, while also a fellow fan of all things swashbuckling, has a different approach. An enthusiast of the Jack

of humanity. One village locks itself away to spare the country. the other sends a young boy down into Hell to find a cure only to get more than they bargained for.

The very talented En Masse theatre company are masters of stOrytelling. but there‘s more to them than that. Having chosen the perfect venue for their tale. they create even more atmosphere than the dark cavernous Underbelly already affords. While their exuberant singing and musicianship makes you feel you‘ve had an all- round theatrical experience for your money. (Kelly Apter)

I Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug, 4. 75pm, EQ—EIO (EB—£7).

adventure. is particularly effective.

A little more material generated purely by Clover. rather than the audience. wouldn't go amiss however. if only to further highlight his impressive repertoire of facial expressions. (Kelly Apter)

I Pleasarice Courtyard. 623 3030, 74 8 21 Aug, 7 7.30am. £7 (£5).

WE ALL FALL DOWN Playing with the Plague 0000

Who'd have thought the Black Death could be so much fun? Or that a tale with such a strong moral heart c0uld be so full of laughs and silliness? The story of two 17th century villages both blighted with the plague. the show explores the selfish and selfless sides

Protracted bouts of audience participation ensure everyone’s attention is held. In particular, a chaotic re- enactment of the defeat of the Spanish Armada has the audience hurling scores of plastic blue ‘cannonballs' at a stoic Jeff who, by this point, has resigned himself to the wilful tomfoolery of Dan’s celebrity pirate fixation. This,

Sparrow variety of privateer, he hops about the stage, encouraging jaunty songs and nautical silliness, much to the chagrin of the mortally serious Jeff.

This straightman/foil approach works brilliantly in Dan and Jeff’s Potted Pirates. Fresh from their raucous parody of the Harry Potter franchise, their show is pitched at just the right level to keep children entertained and adults unsuccessfully trying to hide their grins.

along with an adapted musical number, proves a fittingly energetic climax.

Never afraid to send up their own improvised props and limited cast, the talented duo cover most facets of pirate pop culture, and in doing so, spin a solid hour of genuinely funny farce for kids both big and small.

(Oliver Farrimond) I P/easance Courtyard. 5:36 (5550. unti/ 25 Aug. 3pm, 5‘9—5‘ 70 (SB—£10).