From highly-strung thespians in homemade dress-up to attention seeking comedians; you’ll find no shortage of overgrown kids at the Edinburgh Fringe. But what is there to appeal to actual young people at the festival this summer? A great deal as it happens – 183 shows in the programme altogether, variously made for newborns, toddlers, teenagers and everyone in-between (plus their adults).
Here’s a round-up of a mere six among many that have caught our eye, including a couple of popular book adaptations, a playful introduction to a theatre great and an inspirational true-life story.
Like her hit at last year’s Fringe ‘Land of the Dragons’, Laura Stevens’ new interactive comedy play features a strong female role model who won’t let anyone get in her way. Based on the book by Clare Cockburn-Martin, ‘Mermalade’ is the story of a mermaid left to try and make sense of a cryptic note, with just three annoying oysters for company. She’s brave enough to stand up to some of the biggest entities in the universe – the booming-voiced God of Thunder included – but is she wise enough to find the answers she’s looking for?
Pleasance Courtyard, until August 29 (not 17-18, 22-24), 11.15am.
The return of an old favourite from Edinburgh kids theatre company Licketyspit. Adventuring young maiden Molly Whuppie is determined not to let the great winter that's frozen even the sea, stop her, her mum and her sister from enjoying a winter feast. So she’s off on a journey, over the Bridge of One Hair and through the woods (home of a giant) to find the King and ask him for some scran. She might just be a bit braver than she thought she was...
Assembly Roxy, until August 28 (not 10, 17, 24), 10.30am.
The Ruff Guide to Shakespeare
If trying to get your young ones into Shakespeare without having to prop their eyelids open with matchsticks feels like an impossible a struggle, look no further than this fun and energetic condensed guide to the Bard’s life and works, written specifically with kids in mind during the 400th anniversary year of the great man's death. Seven actors from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School star in a high-tempo production studded with daft song and dance routines, famous speeches and lots of audience participation.
Assembly George Square Gardens, August 6-19 Aug (not 15), 11.10am
The Snail and the Whale
Highly respected London kid’s theatre company Tall Stories’ hugely popular adaptation of Julia ‘Gruffalo’ Donaldson’s touching tale about an unlikely globe-trotting friendship between two creatures, one great one small, returns to the Fringe. A tiny snail longs to see the world, so she hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. Follow the wandering mollusc’s amazing journey, as seen through the eyes of an adventurous young girl and her seafaring father, as told through storytelling, live music and lots of laughs. Suitable for everyone four (centimeters) and up.
Pleasance Courtyard, until August 21 (not 6, 17), 11.50am.
Small Stories present this time-travelling adventure for youngsters aged 8-12 performed by company co-director Toby Mitchell and his 10-year-old son Dominic. By flitting back and forth between the past and the present, young Dominic desperately tries to make his future perfect – but is that actually possible, or indeed even desirable? Un-intrusive audience interaction will give everyone a chance to help make decisions during the show – decisions that might help shape their own potentially perfect future.
Pleasance Courtyard, until August 14 (not 10), 2pm.
If slightly older children (aged 12 and up) fancy getting a flavour of what proper grown-up theatre is all about, they need look no further than David Greig and Cora Bissett’s life-affirming musical drama Glasgow Girls, which makes its Fringe debut this year. In events based on a true story, seven feisty teenagers come together to take on the government and fight for their school friend and her asylum-seeking family after they’re forcibly taken from their home to be deported.
Assembly Hall, until August 28 (not 10, 15, 22), 2.20pm.
After something a little more adult? Check out our pick of the top ten theatre shows at this year's Fringe.