SESAME STREET LIVE ELMO MAKES MUSIC TV stars make muppet melodies LUMINOUS TALES Moonlit puppets tell stories old and new

He has dueted with Katy Perry and upstaged opera don Andrea Bocelli. Now huggable Sesame Street muppet Elmo is bringing his loveable musical prowess, and furry companions, to the Fringe. ‘This is a real feel-good, fast-paced, fun show,’ says producer Nick George. ‘Elmo fronts it and we also meet other iconic Sesame Street characters Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, Oscar, the Count. They lead the audience on a musical journey where we find out that everything can make music. And we learn that you don’t need to be a trained musician to make music, you just need imagination and friends.’ Elmo Makes Music proves that anyone can make art, and much besides. ‘I think it shows children that music is a wonderful bonding experience, no matter how old you are or what language you might speak,’ says George. (Nicola Meighan) Meadows Big Theatre Top, 667 0202, 5–12 Aug, 2pm (also 11am show on 11 & 12 Aug), £11 (family ticket £40).

Zannie Fraser’s shadow puppetry has toured all over the world, but 2012 marks her Edinburgh Fringe debut in the guise of Ripstop Theatre, her own company. Fraser’s new show, Luminous Tales, is a collection of stories about night-time for audiences aged four and over.

‘They are a mixture of ancient myths, modern stories and made up ideas,’ she explains. ‘I’ve always been fascinated by the moon and, as I do shadow theatre, which is all about playing with light and dark, I thought it would be a good subject to explore.’ Fraser is effusive about her chosen craft. ‘Shadow theatre for me is like making live films with very simple materials and low-tech equipment,’ she says. ‘I love making visual images come alive and turning simple objects, like a piece of card or a tea towel, into something magical.’ And she’s clear about why puppet theatre is

always such a hit with young audiences. ‘I think puppet theatre is magic,’ says Fraser. ‘Objects become transformed and inanimate objects come to life. I think what children love is the telling of stories in a very visual medium and the chance to interact with that story, which is what I hope my audiences will do I love it when kids heckle!’ (Yasmin Sulaiman) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 18 Aug (not 7, 14), 11.35am, £6–£8 (£5.50–£7.50). Previews until 3 Aug, £5.

THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE Tall Stories return with another Donaldson classic

Julia Donaldson’s picture books take pride of place on bedroom shelves around the world. But it’s not until somebody picks them up and reads them that those clever rhymes come alive. Published in 2004, The Snail and the Whale has been one of Donaldson’s more successful books,

and was recently named a favourite choice at Storybook Soldiers, an organisation that records members of the armed forces reading a bedtime story, then sends it to their children back home. It was this discovery that helped Tall Stories (the theatre company behind the hugely popular

Gruffalo show) come up with a framework for their latest production, in which a child uses the story to connect with her father on a naval ship. ‘The Snail and the Whale is about a small creature who is unusually adventurous, and ends up going

round the world with a big creature,’ says Tall Stories’ co-director, Toby Mitchell. ‘And I think a child left at home would identify strongly with the snail’s desire to travel.’ As with all Tall Stories’ shows, The Snail and the Whale is replete with the kind of songs you find

yourself singing in the kitchen a week later. ‘Music in general and catchy songs in particular are very important elements of our shows,’ says Mitchell. ‘They’re a really good way to add atmosphere, develop a character or move the plot on. And we love it when audience members come out of the shows humming the songs. During The Snail and the Whale, the audience gradually learns the main song, almost without noticing, and most of them end up singing along at the end.’ (Kelly Apter) Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 3pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Previews until 3 Aug, £5.

THE CURIOUS SCRAPBOOK OF JOSEPHINE BEAN Mystery and intrigue between the pages

Shona Reppe hasn’t performed at the Edinburgh Fringe since Cinderella in 2002. But in the meantime, she’s established herself as one of Scotland’s most innovative and engaging purveyors of children’s theatre. ‘I wanted to set a show around an old scrapbook,’ she says of The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean. ‘A Victorian one, one that had been abandoned and had to be examined and the story discovered within it a mystery. I watched a lot of CSI and Agatha Christie!’ In the show, Reppe plays Dr Patricia Baker,

founder of the Society for the Care, Repair, Analysis and Probing of Scrapbooks (SCRAPS). ‘I wanted to make a homemade laboratory, one with lots of gadgets for unearthing the story within a scrapbook,’ she explains. ‘I used video projections for the first time as they seemed right for this show.’ Her attitude to making children’s theatre, however, remains comfortingly traditional: ‘Just create good theatre, no matter what age the audience is.’ (Yasmin Sulaiman) Traverse @ Scottish Book Trust, 228 1404, 4–26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 11am, £10 (family ticket £32). Preview 3 Aug, £6.

2–9 Aug 2012 THE LIST 55