FESTIVAL theatre/kins


I MR TDAD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE Mr Toad waxes lyrical in a raucous court-room caper. of the likes never seen in Perry Mason, as the tow-rag is tried lor theft, bad driving and - horror of horrors- calling a policeman ‘Fat face'l Mole, Ratty and Badger can't rescue him this time!

Mr Toad’s Excellent Adventure (Fringe) Mumbles Theatre. Paradox at the Wee Red Bar, College ofArt (Venue 73), 2291003, umll 25 Aug, 11am, £3 (£2).


I MAGIC BOB VISITS MR BDDM Audiences at Magic Bob and Mr Boom shows contain a fair number of ‘l've seen them betore', proving that Bob and Boom always dellverthe goods- ail-action-loin-ln songs and music interspersed with some lolly baffling magic. Magic Bob Visits Mr Boom (Fringe) Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5424, 24-26 Aug, 10.30am £2.50. I ALICE IN WONDERLAND Ever played croquet using a flamingo instead of a mallet? Cygnet Training Theatre cleverly create the bizarre world of Mad Hatter tea-parties, time-keeping rabbits, disappearing cats and tyrannical queens. And, like Alice, you too can have a go at croquet. Alice In Wonderland (Fringe) Cygnet Training Theatre, Quaker Meeting House (Venue 40) 225 4025, until 25 Aug, 1 .30pm. £2.50 (£2). I THE GINGERBREAD MAN Run, run as fast as you can . . . Under-sixes will love shouting this rhyme as loud as they can as often as needed, and ‘helping' the puppets to find the ingredients needed to bake the cheeky little gingerbread man. The Gingerbread Man (Fringe) John Peel Puppets, Buster Brown's (Venue 60) 226 4224. 13-25 Aug, 11 .15am. £2.50 (£2). I GROST-BUSTING! Attention all tans oi Slimer a Co, WackaDay and Timmy Mallet; this is the show for you. A hectic, hilarious mixture of ghost-busting antics and quiz show knockabouts, requiring an ear-spliting level oi noise from the audience and a lots of young on-stage participants. Ghost-Busting! (Fringe) See Red. St Columba's by the Castle (Venue 4) 220 0541. BAug-t Sept (not Suns), 11am, £2.50 (£2).

Aard- attack

When is a chair not a chair? When it's a cockpit. scooter. boat. bed in other words when Nicholas Ellenbogen and Ellis Pearson have got their hands on it.

In easily one ofthe most energetic and imaginative shows on the Fringe. these two members of the Theatre for Africa create an hundred different scenes a minute from little more than a chair. a plank ofwood and a ginger wig.

An old Africa hand is telling the story of Salty Hepburn and his trusty plane. The Aardvark. as they travel all over the continent in a successful mission to foil the Baron‘s plans to create a super race from the organs oftortured monkeys.

Created specifically to bring to public attention the cruelty of animal experimentation Raiders of the Lost Aardvark has a message that is clear but never oppressive or frightening.

Visually stimulating. exciting and very funny it is definitely a show to see. Grab a child if you can. if not, go


Each member of the American Festival Theatre has as much energy as Ellenbogen and Pearson. only there are ten ofthem. Their performance of Dragons and Honeybees is colourful and noisy enough to appeal even to very young viewers.

With the precision of a military drill the Company run through four national folk tales. in which they create rivers. forests and fountains using only athleticism and imagination.

In spite of the international nature of their material they are ultimately

{vi-l .“l very American and don‘t quite manage to overcome English inhibitions when the audience is invited to participate themselves in creating a story. Their own enthusiasm and dramatic skills. however. cannot be faulted.

Intelligent and boisterous theatre. (Harriet Swain)

I Raiders of the Lost Aardvark (Fringe) Springwell House (Venue 32) 337 1917. 24. 26. 28. 3O Aug,1 Sept,11am.£3.50(£2.50).

I Dragons and Honeybees (Fringe) The Royal Scots Club (Venue 57) 557 5091, until 1 Sept. noon. £3 (£2).


A play about a very special seal who fights for the right oi all seals to live in peace and saiety- first by outwitting Captain Bludgeon and then by taking her case to the Supreme Court of the United Nations.

A commendable, well-paced production that resonates with integrity, fun and imagination. Forgivably didactic at moments, the script has an added dimension of genuine depth that modern children’s theatre rarely accomplishes. The actors give exemplary performances, Samantha, Wally the Walrus, and

Scrounger the Seagull are uniformly interesting to the audience, because they are not merely one dimensional stereotypes. The villainous elements are also good, and again the strength is the ability to believe in the characters (even the delightfully comic side-kick Willie Whatsis).

The locus of the show is always to include the children In the situations

created, while underlining that

Samantha's fight is a real issue and not just a product of a make-believe fantasy. A most successful mix of sensitivity, education and entertainment. Recommended for all ages. (Michael Balfour)

Samantha Seal (Fringe) Springwell House (Venue 32) 25, 27, 29, 31 Aug, 11am, £3.50 (£2.50).


The Custard Factory’s production of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes is thoroughly enjoyable and should not be missed by adults and children alike.

Taking four of Dahl’s Rhymes, which expand upon traditional falrytales in his own unique and macabre way, the company bring to life Cinderella, Jack and The Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs, with the aid of slapstick and lots of audience participation.

Also performing two Shakespearean productions at The Playhouse Studio, The Custard Factory display an obvious expertise in the difficult realm of children's theatre, brought about in part, no doubt, by the workshops they run for handicapped kids. Jez Thomas has a definite career in front of him as a children’s television presenter and I think it would do some of the TV producers, who seem to hang around the Assembly Rooms like flies, a lot of good to come down to this venue and see the packed audience and delighted faces of every age. Give them a TV series, lsay. (Paul Maverick)

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (Fringe) The Custard Factory Theatre Company, Theatre West End (Venue 126), until 25 Aug, 10.45am, £3 (£2.50).

The List 24 ~ 30 .-\ueust 190041