If you’re heading to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with the family this summer you may well be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of shows on offer. We’re not going up to Edinburgh so we have to live vicariously, which means we’ve been wading through the ‘What’s On’ directory on the Fringe website to help you get to grips with it all. In the first of our Edinburgh Fringe previews, we’re focusing on the shows we’ve seen before. Whether you’re taking a toddler or teenager, you will find a show with the Family Stage seal of approval in our tried and tested list below.
The Amazing Bubble Man (ages 0+)
Back at the Fringe once again in 2022, The Amazing Bubble Man does exactly what it says on the tin. There is a man, he has bubbles and he does amazing things with them! We saw the show at the Underbelly Festival in London a few years ago, back before we started blogging. It’s brilliant fun for all ages and well worth a watch.
The Polar Bears Go, Go, Go (ages 2-5)
Polar bears may be an unusual sight in Edinburgh in August (and for the sake of the actors, we really hope the venue is air conditioned!) but that’s because they’re off on their holiday. The Polar Bears, Go, Go, Go is an awesome show for little ones which is also great fun for their grown-ups. Although aimed at early years, it’s so entertaining that it would work for slightly older children too (so definitely worth a look if you have a toddler plus an older sibling). The munchkins were 5 and 7 when they saw it at the Unicorn Theatre in London, and both loved it. Read our review to learn more.
Shark in the Park (ages 2-7)
Also heading up to Edinburgh this August is Nonsense Room Productions’ Shark in the Park, which combines all three of Nick Sharatt’s popular picture books into one great big stage adventure. This is another one which we caught at London’s Underbelly festival in the summer holidays a few years back and, as our review attests, can confirm that it’s very much the sort of show that is engaging enough to keep the attention of hot and bothered small humans during a heatwave. Definitely an important consideration these days! This is another good one for those looking for something to entertain a mix of early years/slightly older primary school children and works whether or not you are familiar with the books.
Dinosaurs and All that Rubbish (Ages 3-12)
Expect a riotous hour of dancing dinosaurs, space travel and catchy songs as Roustabout Theatre (creator of Luna, The Great Big Story Mix Up and This Island’s Mine) presents the premiere production of its stage adaptation of Michael Foreman’s classic children’s book, Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish. We love Roustabout’s work and, although we haven’t yet seen the in person production of Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish (which we’re hoping to catch on tour this Autumn) we very much enjoyed the online version Roustabout released during lockdown. Check out our review here.
Comedy Club 4 Kids (ages 6+)
If you’re in the market for comedy without the rude bits, you need to get yourself to the Comedy Club 4 Kids. Another one which very much does what it says on the tin, the show gives children the chance to experience stand-up comedy in a family friendly setting. Like any comedy club, you will see different acts depending on the day, but they do get some very big names going along to Edinburgh. To get a flavour of what you can expect, read our review of a previous Comedy Club 4 Kids event we attended and check out the YouTube video below from one of their previous Edinburgh gigs:
If you have slightly older children, do not miss Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World. Based on the Kate Pankhurst book of the same name, this must see musical is brimming with catchy tunes, colourful costumes, feminist facts and all the sass of SIX with none of the naughty bits. Check out our recent review of the touring production which we caught on its stop at Stratford East. (If you can’t get up to Edinburgh but you are based in London, there are still a few days to catch it down here!) Several weeks on, the cast recording is still playing regularly in our house (and permanently in Mummy’s head)!
This one is definitely for secondary school and above, but if you’re looking for something downright daft, we strongly suggest checking out Say It Again Sorry’s interactive, improvised production of Oscar Wilde’s classic, The Importance of Being…Earnest? This may not be the only Earnest in Edinburgh this August (there are at least four) but it will certainly be one of the silliest and you might even find yourself on stage. (Don’t worry – they’re excellent at ensuring that only those who want to get involved actually find themselves with a starring role!) You really don’t have to know the Oscar Wilde original to appreciate this one, which we described as “gloriously loopy” in our review back in March 2020 (mere days before theatres were forced to close). It was a surreal night of brilliance back then and we can only assume that it has got better with age. Another one you definitely won’t want to miss.