ADAPTATION YOU CHOOSE Festival Square Spiegeltent, Edinburgh, Fri 30 Nov–Sat 5 Jan

Nonsense Room Productions has come a long way from putting on small-scale Edinburgh Fringe performances of Hairy Maclary. The company now has a global reach with tours of Asia and Australia on its CV, and is proud to be back in the Scottish capital to play a major part in this year’s Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations.

In the Spiegeltent just off Lothian Road, Nonsense Room will put on a show that’s never the same twice across the festive period. Based on the hugely successful book by writer Pippa Goodhart and author-illustrator Nick Sharratt, You Choose is an interactive musical production that creates a unique story every time through a series of challenges and games.

‘The audience will experience the usual ingredients of our

previous shows such as Hairy Maclary or Shark in the Park,’ explains Nonsense Room’s musical director, Matthew Brown. ‘So there’s a colourful set design, friendly characters, catchy songs and a real sense of fun. But the twist for this production, is that it culminates in a final scene where elements such as location, costume, characters, pets and friends are determined by audience choices.’

Also, through a series of game show-style sections, one half of the audience will compete against the other to choose the location and vote for their favourite act in a spoof talent competition. After the success of Shark in the Park, this is Nonsense Room’s second venture into the books of Nick Sharratt. What is it about his stories that appeals to kids as well as to the company?

‘Nick’s work is instantly recognisable and his artistic style has an element of theatricality that enables the transition from page to stage to be particularly effective,’ says Brown. ‘We had a great experience working together previously, with Nick coming up with the set design for Shark in the Park, and we’re thrilled to be repeating the process for You Choose.’ (Brian Donaldson)

INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE FLUTTER Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, Sun 25–Thu 29 Nov; Platform, Glasgow, Sat 1–Wed 5 Dec; Dundee Rep Theatre, Tue 18–Sat 22 Dec MUSIC FESTIVAL BIG MUSIC FOR MINIS Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 10 & Sun 11 Nov

Already well-respected for their puppet theatre productions aimed at both adults and children, Tortoise in a Nutshell’s past hits include Feral, Grit and The Lost Things. The company’s latest piece is a Christmas show aimed at younger audience members, and its upcoming tour a revival from last year, when Flutter had a brief airing. ‘We wanted to do a piece that reflects the season of winter through its sensory and visual aspects,’ says Tortoise in a Nutshell’s Arran Howie, a designer on the show and also one of the two-handed cast for this current tour along with Christie Mitchell. ‘It’s about working with the textures that young audiences enjoy a celebration and an exploration of the season of winter, in which the audience feel immersed and get a sense of playfulness.’

Directed by Matt Addicott and aimed at children between the ages of two and six, the piece was devised by the company with the help of dramaturgs Alex Bird and Ross MacKay, and tells the broad story of two sisters who go out into their back garden to discover it’s been transformed by fresh snowfall.

‘It’s a completely new playing canvas for them to discover, where something that used to be a shed now looks like a mountain,’ says Howie. ‘They take out their toy penguin and lose it, and while they search for him there’s a sense that animals might be hibernating in the garden and things could be coming to life. So there’s a mix of imagination and magic there.’ (David Pollock)

100 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 100 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019

If you had the option of sitting still and listening quietly to music or getting fully involved in the creation of sounds with some top musical talents, there’s surely no contest. The people behind Big Music for Minis, a weekend event aimed at those aged 0–7 and now in its sixth annual incarnation, know this only too well. ‘To me, music is the most important subject in the world as it connects us

all as human beings,’ says Christopher Barr, concert and learning participation producer at Glasgow Life. ‘It’s never too early to introduce children to high-quality music-making which will no doubt have an impact on their lives. The main aim is to provide fun, exciting and high-impact music-learning activities.’

This year’s delights include Mini Beatz running an afternoon club with live DJ and musical activities, the National Youth Choir of Scotland presenting two hands-on events including a large choir for young children, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra performing Jack and the Beanstalk, and an opportunity for children to get drumming with Big Groove Samba for Minis. Meanwhile, the exhibition hall will be turned into the outer limits by Cosmos Planetarium with a musical journey through space and time, and there's a family ceilidh, too.

‘We’re essentially running one big TRSMT Festival, but for children!’ insists Barr. ‘We turn the Royal Concert Hall into a large musical crèche and work tirelessly to ensure that we give the children and their families the best possible experience.’ (Brian Donaldson)