Seen at Spectrum Centre, Inverness. Plays Children’s Festival, Mon 22-Sun 28 May.

Communicado draws on the traditional : travellers’ tales of master storyteller Duncan Williamson for this robust,

energetic new production which has been pitched boldly at a family audience.

Using every available inch of the stage and simple but highly effective ' props, the six-strong cast manages to ; conjure up a magical world of spells and talking animals through a series ' of stories whose dark overtones will, it must be said, challenge younger children.

At the heart of the performance is director Gerry Mulgrew whose vast t

The Hunchback and the Swan: ‘moving‘

experience clearly pays handsome dividends. Indeed his father-figure role in the production seems to reflect the guiding hand which steers the stories through some potentially tricky twists.

The slick, witty dialogue demands pinpoint timing which the cast delivers, and lighting designer Jeanine Davies adds an extra dimension through her imaginative use of shadowplay. Rollicking musical set- pieces punctuate the action and offer the necessary light relief amid tales which include a terrifying changeling baby (in ‘The Taen-Awa’) and a ghostly coach and horses.

The costumes in particular in the

moving ‘The Hunchback and the Swan’

are a triumph of simplicity and the stage set crams a lot into a very small space. Ultimately though the production’s trump card is a series of good stories well told. (Hector Mackenzie)


f See at Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow. Plays at Children’s Festival, Fri 26.

TAG Theatre Company’s ‘The Magic Island’ is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale The Tempest. Written by Liz Lochhead, this production tells the story of Prospero the magician, formerly ‘King of the

2 Empire Theatre’, and his daughter ; Miranda who are shipwrecked on an island when a journey on the Titanic

ends in disaster. Using his magical powers, Prospero coniures up a storm which washes ashore his brother, Antonio the accountant, Antonio’s daughter Fernandelle, a drunkard

; a, z .>.

The Magic Island: ‘colourful and lively’

named Drinculo and a lot of trouble. There’s very much a pantomime feel to this play and the children respond favourably to the knockabout antics of nasty Antonio, the all-burping all- farting Drinculo and the green-faced Caliban who steals the show in a hilarious performance by Andy Williams as Yorkshire’s answer to the

Hunchback of Hotre Dame.

The Magic Island is colourful and

“Valli (though the pacing could be tighter) with shimmering costumes, an

effective musical score and an impromptu magic show at the end. Judging from the children’s reactions,

though, TAG could quite happily have

dispensed with Shakespeare

' altogether and gone for a Lochhead-

scripted magic show instead. Having said that, The Magic Island is an easily accessible introduction to

t the Bard’s work and TAG’s happy shiny

production will no doubt prove as

3 popular with parents and teachers as 3 it will with the children themselves. (Cathryn O’Neill)

I Bonnie Prince Charlie Bl’ l’et-t'omtattee Tent. Mon 22- Wed 24 May. l().l5ani.

l2. l5pni. £3 (£2). All ages. llopscotch Theatre Company ask the questions that really matter about the fair hero of the '45 rebellion. Was he really so Bonnie'.’ Was he really a prince'.’ ()r was he really just a bit of a charlie'.’

I Magic Bob BP Performance Tent. Mon 22-~l‘ri 26 May ll.l5ani. I.l5pni. £3 (£2). All ages. lle‘s Bob and he‘s magic. and he's got a whole new bunch of Ticklish Tricks tip his sleeve.

I The Boy Who Wanted To Talk To Whales Theatre Tent Two. Mon 22 May. 20am. noon: Wed 24. 10am; Thurs 25. l0am; Sat 27. 12.30pm. 2.30pm; Stiit 2S. lpni. 3pm. £.1.5(l(£3.50; £2). Ages 5--l l. The tale of a boy compelled by a powerful i dream to talk to whales. brottgltt to life by the haunting. mysterious sounds of Canadian music-makers The Robert Minden l-Insemble.

I Crown of Destiny Theatre Tent ()tte. Mon 22—Thurs 25 May. 10am: Sat 27.

7pm; Sun 28. 3pm. £4.50 ( £3.50: £2).

3 Accomplished puppeteers from Scotland and Montreal share a stage for the world

premiere of this ambitious co-production between the Children's l‘estival and Canadian company Theatre Sans l‘ils. With substantial funds behind them. these two international companies have spent three years producing a series of spectacular life-size puppets. The result is this magical story of two children and their adventures in a mythical age filled with giants. magicians and mysterious creatures.

I Feet First Theatre Tent 'lhree. Mon 22«Thtii'.s 25 May. l.30pm; Sun 28. 1pm. £4.50(£5.501£2).Ages 7 ll. Discover the unseen potential of your tootsies as this talented band of puppeteers all the way front lsi'ael present the little known art of foot puppetry.

. I Giant Steps Theatre Tent ()ne. Thurs 25

May. noon; Tue 23. Wed 24. Thurs 25 May. l.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50;£2). Ages S--l2. Bright. young Scottish theatre

company Visible Fictions presettt their : latest show. A young child embarks on a i whirlwind journey ofexcitenient. sadness

and joy that leaves him more confident

' and worldly-wise on his return.

I The Inflatable Comedy Theatre Show

Theatre Tent ()ne. Mon 22 May. noon.

1.30pm; Tue 23. noon; Wed 24. noon; Ht

2o. l.3()pm. 7.30pm; Sat 27. 2.30pm.

; 4.30pm; Suit 2S. llatn. lpm. £4.50

' (£3.50; £2). All ages. The amazing l-‘i‘ed v Garbo. veteran of Stat-tune Street. juggler. ; acrobat and comic. gets ottt his inflatable

suit for this /.any all-American double—act with (lancer l)aielma Santos.

I Little Theatre For Little People 't‘heaite '

Tent Three. Tue 23. Thurs 25 May. 10am. noon; Hi 26, l.30pm; Sat 27. 2.30pm. 4.30pm; Sttit 2S. llatti. U 50 (£3.50; £2).

Ages 5 t). \thlclt the .lttpallcsc all (ll-

: origami unfold before your eyes as

Theatre Kale-No-Ko transform paper

1 sqttares into foxes and cardboard boxes

into elephants ill this unique performance using hands. paper attd everyday objects. I Mr Boom Theatre Tent ()ne. Mon

22--Thurs 25 May. 5.30pm; Hi 26. 10am.

j noon. Theatre 'lent Two. Sat 27. 10.30am. i£-l.50 (£3.50; £2). Ages 3 7. Musical

i- superhero of all persons under five. Mr

? Boom takes off with a cosmic blend of

songs and stories relating to the moott.

I The Magic Island Theatre Tent Two.

l-‘ri 2() May. 10am. 12.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50; £2). Ages 7 —l l. A brand new production

from the renowned Tag Theatre Company.

- All the poetry and mystery of

Shakespeare‘s 'li‘ni/it's’! in a witty. up-to-

_ dale adaptation from popular Scottish poet

l.i/. Lochhead. See rey iew.

I Software: A Computer Opera 't‘heatt-e Tent Two. Tue 23—Wed 2-1 May. noon. |._‘s0pm; Thurs 25. 1.30pm. 7pm. £4.50 (£3.50; £2). Ages (i -l 1. Australian company Victorian State ()pera present a futuristic odyssey through cyberspace

where 'Alice in Wonderland meets virtual

reality". It‘s hard disks for Valerie. who gets sucked ittto the strange digital world behind her computer screen aitd finds she ltas nothing more than her wits to use against the ettetny Mega Byte. See )review.

I Tall Tales For Small People Theatre

Tent Three. Mon 22. Wed 24. Fri 26 May. l0aiu. noon; Sat 27. 10.30am. l2.30pm:

Sttit 28. 3pm. £4.50(£3.50; £2). Ages

7~—| l. The excellent (‘ommunicado

I Theatre Company iii anew show that's

been delighting small and tall persons alike on the first leg of its tour. Are you sittiitg conifoitably _’ These are "Trayeller s tales to make your toes tap. your heart pound and your spiitts leap' See It‘\ iew

KIDS mam-

Events are divided into outdoors and indoors and then listed alphabetically by activity. Kids listings compiled by Ellie Carr.


Activities and Fun

I BT Environment Week Until Mon 29 May. Environmental happenings throughout the Central Belt. See Days Out.

I Children’s Garden Open Day Botanic Gardens. Great Western Road. Mon 22 May. Free. Parks and Recreation 227 5065 for details. Pay a visit to this hidden corner of the Botanics which is forever run by children for children.


Activities and Fun

I The Arts Is Magic Sl‘ZCC. liinnieston Quay. 248 3000. Wed 24 May. 10am—3pm: 5—7pm. Thurs 25 May.

10am ~3piu. l’ree. A huge festival. now in its sixth year. with an unrivalled reputation for its commitment to spreading arts through the community and integrating children with and without special needs. This year‘s theme is ‘The Celts with performances. activities. art stalls and storytelling running throughout the two days. Booking is essential.


Fred Garbo and Company take off

I Children’s Festival On Tour Mitchell Theatre. 227 55 l i. Tue 30 May-Sat l() .ltttt. Glasgow gets a chance to catch a slice of the action froin this year's l-Idinburglt International Children's festival as they take to the road for the first ever kidsfest tour. The acts switching camp to (ilasgow's Mitchell Theatre after their stint in lnverleith Paik include l‘red (iarbo. Theatre Sails l-‘ils. Robert Minden linseiuble. Theater Kale No Ko and Victorian State ()pera.

I The Spider of Spindlewood Scottish Mask and Puppet Theatre. S--l0 Balcarrcs Ayenue. Kelvindale. 33‘) (i185. 2pm. £2.50 (*2 l .50). Ages 4—-l l. The Spindlewood Puppets present this tale of a Scottish spider and Kasper (the German equivalent of Punch) using a blend of British and German puppetry traditions and lots of audience participation.


Activities and Fun I Woodland Birds Day Chaltellierault

(‘ottntiy l’aik. l‘cittiegair by liamilton. i (‘ountiy l’aik Rangeis on 0|(NS no: I 3 for details (booking essential). Suit 28 May 5am ~lpiii. A whole day dedicated to .‘ottt teatheted litends \\ itli actiy ities lot i .tll .iges Walks. kites and nestbo\ making

_ “J

The List It) May I ll)” I‘N5 15