THEATRE FESTIVAL Various venues, Edinburgh, Mon 27 May-Wed 5 Jun

Wee Stories hit the mark in Treasure Island

It's a pretty healthy reflection on the state of children's theatre in Scotland that exactly half of the companies taking part in this year's Children‘s ‘lnternational‘ Theatre Festival are Scottish. Companies such as Wee Stories. TAG. Visible Fictions and Catherine Wheels are proving themselves as world leaders in consistently providing quality shows for children. Such is their innovation and standard that Tony Reekie. director of the festival. was hard pushed to find work of a similar quality Outside Scotland. Consequently. there can be no doubt about the opportunities the festival showcase affords our indigenous companies. ‘What we tend to find every year is that the international productions are the ones that are the best.’ says Reekie. ‘And I'm not sure that this will be the case this year.‘

The popularity of the festival has grown immensely since its inauguration in 1990 when bus ads must have seemed like a distant dream. Now. thanks to the generous Support of their sponsor. the festival can afford to be more daring in its work. This year. little footsteps on the ground will lead a path between the venues: a nice touch and something that adds to the experience for the little ones.

One downside of popularity is that demand outstrips supply and tickets for shows often sell out weeks in advance. But this is not necessarily a problem. as it can actually broaden the horizons of returning audiences. “What I'm happiest about is work which we would have programmed before which might have seemed quite difficult is actually selling well.‘ says Reekie. 'That's always the proof of it. In a sense Treasure Island is something that I would expect to sell. and it has. Then you have something like Podofino Ballad which looks a little odd. and it is. and it’s quite wonderful as well.’

In the same way that the festival successfully embraces a range of theatrical styles, the subject matter and themes of the festival are increasingly adventurous. For example. Walking The Tightrope explores the sensitive issue of bereavement. Our Wonderful World tackles mental decline. while Dr Korczak Example and Lifeboat. both set during World War It. highlight the feelings of children who face life-threatening danger. All positive steps in the right direction. according to Reekie: 'I'm very keen that the festival should. in terms of the emotions. reflect things that are happening in the outside world. It’s safe to tackle quite big and quite scary issues if you're doing it in a context which is moral and has quality to it.‘ (Maureen Ellis)

90 THE LIST 7.") Ma, o“; .Jiin Win?

Performances Performances are listed by venue and then in date order.


(’ambridgc Street. (llfil 228 I404. Bill’s New Frock Mon 27 Wed 2‘) Ma}. lflam & l2.3()pm. Ages 8 12. Young Bill wakes up to find he's a girl. forced to attettd school in a pink frock in Visible l-‘ictions‘ adaptation of Anne l‘ine's humorous book. Directed by l)ouglas li'Vine. w ho recently returned from directing the his .-\ngeles cast in America. the trans-.-\tlantic production takes a light-hearted look at gender stereotsping and expected beha\ iour. Dr Korczak’s Example Mon

27 Tue 28 Ma}; 7.|5pm. Ages over l2. Set in a Jewish orphanage in Poland amidst the terror of World War II. l)r Korc/ak is struggling to instil Values of justice in his students who are worried about the ad\ancing .\'a/is. .\loreiwer. recent at't'i\al :\tl/io proves to be the biggest threat _\et to Korc/ak's utopian ideals. 'l'.r\(i 'l'heatre ('ompan) adapt the aina/ing true story of the Polish humanitarian and children's author to create a moxing stor} exploring the blurred landscape between w hat‘s right and wrong.

Walking The Tightrope Wed 29 .\la}‘. l-‘ri 3t Ma} Sat l Jun. Wed 7pm: l-‘ri 5.30pm; Sat noon. .-\ges S f). Little lisine spends her summer holida) s with her grandparents by the seaside. This year. her grandmother isn't there and granddad is at a loss to explain w here she is. High energy performances and the music from the award-winning 'I‘raxelling Light 'l‘heatre (‘onipain create a heart- warming and poignant message about less and change.

The Lifeboat Wed 2‘) Hi 31 Ma}. Wed 7.l5pm: 'l‘hu & l-‘ri 10.30am is 12.45pm. Ages cht‘ It). In l‘)-l() a ship carr) ing evacuees escaping w artoi'n Britain was torpedoed. In total. there were old} sex en sui'\ l\()l‘s. and two of those sttt‘ViVors Bess Walder and Beth (‘umniings spent l‘) terrif} ing hours in the Water. ('atherine \VltL‘L‘ls 'l'ltL‘tllt‘L‘ ('ompan} present Nicola .\fc('artne\ ‘s adaptation of the stor} of friendship which has lasted o\ er (it) years. Portofino Ballad lit 31 Ma} s‘ai l Jun. Mon 3 Tue 4 Jun. l‘ri 7.l5pm; Sal l 30pm ck 3.l5pm: Mini is Tue 5pm. Ages o\'et‘ 3. Mr ('ltckoo is as reliable as c\'er popping in and out on the hour. e\er_\ hour. exer} da) of e\ er} year. His son hangs out in the back room of the clock and he's bored to death. l‘ollow ing in his father's footsteps doesn't interest him. l’eter Rinderknecht iises a double bass that opens up like an advent calendar to tell a poignant stoi‘) about famil} ties and freedom.

Double Cross-Grained Sat 1 Mon 3 Jun. Sat 3.30pm is 5.30pm: Sun lliflpin; .\lon l3.3(lpiii ck 2.30pm. .r\ges 4 ts’. Set in a sL‘t'ltpltltltlsl} tid) kitchen. the Double parlour maids are doubh pernickcty about cleanliness. tidincss and neatness. .\ place for es‘er) thing. as it WL‘I'L‘. lltttl ls. ltttlll lltL‘lt' accident-prone butler. (‘i‘oss-(iraincd. appears on the scene and their ha\ en of order is transformed into a chaotic mess of

mishaps and arguments. This production from l)anstheater l)ee iises ph} sical humour to create an engaging dance theatre spectacle.

Wee Witches Sun 2 Mon 3 Jun. Sun llam (& lpm: .\fon noon & 2pm. Ages

3 7. Acclaimed children's theatre contpan} \Vec Stories present this spook) tale about a group of outrageous ladies. Written by Virginia Radcliffe. who also penned .llu/lv ll'liii/i/iii'. the production explores issues of mistaken identit). The Song From The Sea Sun 3 Jun. 3.30pm & 5.30pm. .-\ges 4 8. Poor Josh lixes in a house w here he can barel} hear himself think. ()nc da). he hears a beautiful sound and com inces his gran to take him on a jotii'ne} to find its source. lltts charming production from Visible l-‘ictions. in conjunction with the ptlppett'} of Shona Reppe. is a mm ing stor} about the magic of e\ ei'_\da_\ life. Our Wonderful World Sun 2 Tue 4 Jun. 7pm. Ages met' If. I.ife is looking up for Paul he's just got his first big break doing \oice-ox‘er for a doctimeiitar) series. Little does he know, his mother is about to slip into her own world of senile dementia. and her timing couldn‘t be much worse. Acclaimed Danish compain Meridiano 'l'eatret present this tender portrain of depcndcnc} and famin ties.

ROYAL LYCEUM THEATRE (irindlay Street. 0| RI 348 4848. Treasure Island Tue 38 Ma}. 7pm. Ages in CT 3. “Ice Sltlt‘lcs present their acclaimed adaptation of Robert Louis Stexenson s classic arhenture on the high seas. And} ('annon and Iain Johnstone play all of the characters from Jim

flaw kins to iiiarooned exile Ben (iunn. and the} create bloodcurdling suspense and a thoroughl) enchanting show. Buster l‘ri 3] .\la} Sat l Jun. 2.30pm. Ages 5 l2. liltslc‘t's lttltlsc‘ isn‘t like e\‘ei"\one else's. Dreams become i'calit). puppets become people and inanimate objects answer back. This \ istlttll) dax/ling production from ('ahoots .\'. l. combines magic and illusions with music. circus skills. drama and dance.


(irind|a_\ Street ('ourt. (irindla) Street |.anc. ()l3l 33‘) 70-1].

A Strange Man Sat 1 Jun. l2.3f)pm & 3.30pm. .-\ges 5 If). l)anish theatre conipan} 'l‘eater l’atrasket tell the stor) of a pink man who arrhes in a town populated b} green people. Not onl) does he not ltmk like eu‘ryme Cl\L'. liltl he walks forwards instead of backwards. Based on a Danish children's stor} b} .\lats l.etens and told in a rap rh_\thm

sl_\ le. .-l Strange .lliili explores what it means to be different.

Cinderella Sun 3 Mon 3 .ltitt. 12.30pm ck 3.30pm. Ages o\ er (i. lixei'} da} is a bad hair da) for our ('inders until a glamorous lad} comes along and fills (‘inderella‘s handbag with magic. .\'ow it's up to her to find a dress. get to the ball. dance the cha cha cha and fall in line with the handsome prince. all before midnight. the acclaimed Shona Reppc l’uppets adapt this timeless fair} talc using beautiful puppets. original music and ma_\be e\en dancing mice in hats.

Children's Festival is spoiling kids

Bank Of Scotland Children’s International Theatre Festival Mon 27 May—Wed 5 Jun. Various venues. Edinburgh. ()1131 928 1410-1. Once again the - and their parents for choice ‘.‘-/lllt productions from companies from around the globe. Widely regarded as the wor!d's best performing arts festival for little people. the fenday programme features a variety of shows for children of all ages.

Tickets and information are available from the Box Office on 01:31 228 1:104. in person at the Traverse Theatre or online at Box office opening hours before Sun 26 May. are Mon—Sat 10am—6pm; and from Mon 27 May. opening hours are Mon-Sat 9.30am -8pm and Sun 10am 8pm. Tickets for all shows are priced at 5V1. With six tickets for any shows priced at 5‘20. Creche facilities are available for selected performances. and places should be booked in advance when booking tickets.