David Walliams: The First Hippo on the Moon

There is definitely no shortage of children’s productions at the festival this August, ranging from operas for babies to kids improv and storybook adaptations to clowning and circus.  David Walliams book has been brought to the stage by Les Petits Theatre following their success with Captain Flinn’s and the Pirate Dinosaur last year and this one is also, highly absorbing and brilliantly good fun. 

Sheila wants to be the first hippo on the moon and is determined to do whatever it takes to get there. Joined by some amazing puppet animals to help her out, this show see’s Sheila shimmy herself in to a rocket, and collect rocket fuel from the audience to help her reach the moon before her rival in the ultimate space race. With a special guest appearance from Donald Trunk to speed up proceedings, this show has something for the young at heart as well as the young themselves.

With brilliantly catchy tunes and clap along moments, this Les Petits production is entertaining enough for its target audience, although could do with being a little tighter and shorter, especially as thy have landed the lunchtime spot at the Pleasance. This hipponaut’s adventures are a true reflection of the picture book and the songs, set design and puppetry really bring the text to life.

The first hippo on the moon | Pleasance Courtyard

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It’s very nearly the best time of year again…

…this time tomorrow I’ll be back in beautiful Edinburgh, ready for round three of fringe chaos and I can not wait. Sorry for the recent silence, I’m not really sure where the year is going or how it is now August… but I’m currently packing the last few bits, in prep for 10 days of theatre, tickets, audiences and a few pints for good luck!

It really is impossible to describe the fringe atmosphere to anybody who hasn’t been… I would recommend it to anybody, avid theatre fanatic or not! There’s something incredibly reassuring about walking down the street, playing costume or real clothes with the person next to you, bumping in to someone you know from previous years, swigging from a Black Medicine takeaway cup and seeing up to five shows in one day.  Completely and utterly knackering but the best way to spend August, I guarantee you.

I’ve got my show wish list lined up, with ten days up there, I’m hoping to fit quite a few productions in around my shifts managing the box office of three venues. There are sure to be some familiar faces up there this summer too with a brilliant Welsh contingent as always… Sherman Cymru’s incredible Iphigenia in Splott, the Centre’s powerful production of Man to Man, Living Pictures’ endearing one man show Diary of a Madman, the chaos of Flossy and Boo’s Curiosity Shop and Torch Theatre’s well received Grav to name just a few!

I’m like a kid at Christmas, my rain mac, comfy shoes and hangover hiding sunnies are at the ready, and I’m super excited to see my SpaceUK family and get lost in the magic chaos of the fringe once more.

There’ll be some #tweetsizereviews coming your way over in the twittersphere so feel free to give me a follow @chaotickirstyy – Feel free to holla if you’re around and I’ll be doing my yearly round up when I return!

A whole lot of #tweetsizereview’s

A little collaboration for you all:

Show 1 of @edfringe: @DirtyProtest’s Last Christmas & what a cracker it was! Full of laughter & poignant storytelling! #tweetsizedreview

Really enjoyed @20sumthin’s 6: A new musical last night: brilliant lyrics, live band and clever staging @theSpaceUK! #tweetsizereview

Great to see a welsh language production @edfringe, Diolch yn fawr @CwmniFranWen, great performances in Dim Diolch! #tweetsizereview

Check out the thought provoking performance of Soldier Box @OneShotTheatre if you can: v.interesting & stylish production! #tweetsizereview

Wow. Tiger from @Barrowlballet was beautifully unconventional with a large dose of magic and talent #mustsee #tweetsizereview

Very much enjoyed my @ThePaperBirds double bill today: Blind and Broke both shows to see in the final week of @edfringe! #tweetsizereview

Really enjoyed the immersive & relevant production of Broke: flying chocolate bars would def be my cuppa tea! #tweetsizereview @ThePaperBirds

Amazing beat-boxing from Grace Savage in #Blind; something completely different, loved the blindfolded part! #tweetsizereview @ThePaperBirds

Brilliant busker riff off in @Group64’s Mind the Gap; catch them at @SpaceV45! #tweetsizereview #edfringe

Fantastic performances from the cast of Darkle @SurgeonsCourtyd tonight: especially Max! (@DarkleDog) #tweetsizereview

Loved @TheOutbackGames @SpaceV45 earlier: full of fun, smiles and charming music! Great start to the day! #tweetsizereview

Wow #LungsPlay: incredibly beautiful whirlwind of a script with two perfect performances to match #tweetsizereview @painesplough

Gritty, honest and well casted: really enjoyed #LaceUp @trigpoint13 this evening. Catch it @theSpaceUK! #tweetsizereview

Giggles galore in Last Chance Romance from @KitschnSync1 last night: all the single ladies put your hands up! @ZOOvenues #tweetsizereview

Brilliant range of characters brought to life by @Red_Belly_Black in Smoking Ban! Check it out @theSpaceUK #SurgeonsHall! #tweetsizereview

Cleverly staged and brilliant performances in The House of Bernarda Alba from @FourthMonkeyTC @theSpaceUK last night #tweetsizereview

Loved @Jenjencollier‘s show on the partybus: diolch for the fab dose of welshness, best comedy act I’ve seen @edfringe #tweetsizereview

Bottleneck from @_HighTide_ at @FollowTheCow: incredible example of a 1 man show, emotive, energetic, bang on throughout! #tweetsizereview

Taken aback by #TRAVESTIplay from @unbound_theatre: real, thought provoking verbatim theatre. Check it out @edfringe! #tweetsizereview

Loved @WeWereKingsPlay last night: a witty & engaging production from a brilliant team resulting in laughter & almost tears!#tweetsizereview

Check out the fab Piece of Paper Paradox from @bluemoon_tc: great performances! Final show today @SurgeonsCourtyd! #tweetsizereview

Beautiful visual storytelling in Feral from @TortoiseinaNut! Hooked audience from the moment the pen touched the page! #tweetsizereview

Feeling the urge to watch Pitch Perfect or sing constantly after a fab hour with @loveaccidentals! So much fun @theSpaceUK #tweetsizereview (The Accidentals: 99 Problems but a pitch ain’t one)

Lunchtime giggles galore from @IAmPippaEvans @freefringefest – she’s not posh! Def a show for @RealBrianConley! #tweetsizereview

Fab storytelling from @mulberrytheatre in The Domino Effect @theSpaceUK earlier today: a creative mix of raw-ness & love! #tweetsizereview

Brilliant, honest performance from @pluenflake in Llais/Voice @theSpaceUK – loved the live music too! Check it out! #tweetsizereview

Great show @TomDeaconComedy @the3sistersbar: big fan of anyone who will risk their life for a greggs pasty! @freefringefest #tweetsizereview

Loved the beautiful & funny Greatest Liar in All the World @ThePleasance from the fab @FamiliaDeLaNoch – One to watch! #tweetsizereview

Brilliant performance of Guttermouth from the Richard Burton co. @venue13 to start the day: incredibly written & devised! #tweetsizereview

Beautiful physical theatre from @ManicChord today: v.cleverly choreographed and performed! Check it out @bedlamtheatre #tweetsizereview (Don’t Let Go)

Loved @LaurenceOwen’s new & improved disney hit song in todays @_theratpack @the3sistersbar: evil queen is the way to go! #tweetsizereview

Freaking LOVED @LordsofStrut @AssemblyFest tonight! Go see! #chaos #tweetsizereview

Had brilliant fun @FourthMonkeyTC’s Treasure Island:full of giggles, songs & a treasure hunt! Def one to watch @theSpaceUK! #tweetsizereview

Hilarious toe tapping performance from @NowYouKnow14’s I love you, you’re perfect, now change! Check it out @theSpaceUK! #tweetsizedreview

Brilliant immersive lunchtime entertainment from @NotTooTame’s Early Doors! Join the fun at the Jinglin’ Geordie! #tweetsizedreview

Loved @BudJamesJones #hiraethshow @FollowTheCow – honesty, songs & welsh cakes: a truly lush performance! Diolch yn fawr! #tweetsizereview

Really enjoyed the physical theatre & ensemble elements of @HumanZooTheatre’s chaotic #TheHive earlier! #tweetsizereview

Before Us @FollowTheCow – Absolutely hilarious and beyond bizarre! Proper feel good mood now thanks to @StuartBowden! #tweetsizereview

Why is life like sparrows? was beyond bonkers and full of giggles, even when I got ejected! @venue13 #tweetsizereview

Laughter, tears and applause: Fringe highlights 2014

And that’s it, all over for another year… I am home, fed, watered and having slept for 12 hours: I’m definitely ready to be unbored again!

The Fringe festival flew by this year, and amidst the ‘I’ll just go for one drink’ nights out, the power-naps and the busy box office shifts, I managed to squeeze in exactly 50 shows! That’s right, 50! From stand up comedy on the top deck of a double decker bus, to a female accapella group agony aunt service, to an Australian musical in a Church hall, to a one man show based in a wheelie bin, I saw some incredible pieces of performance!

Although it’s incredibly difficult to narrow it down to one favourite, I’ve got it down to a top 5:

Lungs | Paines Plough:  No props, no set, no ensemble: just an incredible script, brought to life by two amazing performers. An honest, heartfelt and witty production which had the audience laughing and crying as one. My one standing ovation of the festival!

Tiger | Barrowland Ballet: A beautifully unconventional piece of dance and physical theatre which left my mouth in a Wow kinda shape. A magical production which was visually stunning with a huge dose of energy and talent!

Travesti | Unbound Theatre Company: Incredibly thought provoking and heartfelt verbatim theatre which knocked me sideways slightly: Female thoughts through male voices.  A very relevant, and brilliantly performed piece from Outbound Theatre Co.

Blind | Paper Birds: Something completely different but ultimately: amazing. Featuring beatboxing from the very talented Grace Savage in a fresh, creative and interesting take on finding your voice when the world keeps getting louder.

Bottleneck | High Tide Festival: A fantastic, fast paced yet emotive, one-man show which left me out of breath just watching. First class performance from James Cooney who is on the ball without as much as a blink out of place throughout.

As well as these, I had a fabulous time on the party bus with Jenny Collier in her hilarious, one hour stand up set (Diolch yn fawr!): definitely my favourite comedian of the Fringe! I also, loved the madness and the chaos of Lord of Strut for the second Fringe in a row and spending a fantastic lunchtime in the company of the Early Door‘s cast at the Jinglin’ Geordie. Fourth Monkey’s Treasure Island left me grinning and giggling away, as did Stuart Bowden’s performance in the beautifully bizarre Before Us Guttermouth was an incredible example of a one-man show and Feral was beautiful to watch as the puppetry was brought to life on stage. I managed to catch some great productions at Pleasance including The Greatest Liar in all the World which was wonderfully created and performed, and the engaging and thought provoking Broke from Paper Birds.  Back at theSpace hub, The Outback Games was full of fun and energy (I love a good musical!) and the funny yet moving We Were Kings, was beautifully performed and directed.

The Welsh companies really came in to their own this year, Dirty Protest’s Last Christmas was engaging and bang on the money, Llais/Voice was a brilliantly honest and raw performance, Hiraeth was fun, heartfelt and a total cwtch of a performance from non-actor Buddug, and Last Chance Romance was full of giggles and all the single ladies! There were brilliant reviews floating around for Land of the Dragon, The Future for Beginners and Wonders of the Universe as well, even though I sadly missed out on seeing them because there are just not enough hours in the day!

And that’s Edinburgh Fringe finished for another year: I was blindfolded, ejected from the theatre and joined by a pub full of people in singing the batman theme tune, I laughed, cried and held hands with strangers and sang… I had an absolute ball!

12 reasons to love Edinburgh during the Fringe

Just twelve of the gazillion reasons to fall in love with Edinburgh during the beauty and chaos of the Fringe festival, compiled over the month on Twitter…

1. The friendly and welcoming new people that you meet every single day

2. Signs like this one:

Not all who wander

3. The novelty of using a knife and fork and sitting at a table to eat!

4. Singing along to B*witched and High School musical in the Tron at 1am

5. Patisserie Valerie at midnight for a birthday treat!

6. Casually walking down the Grassmarket to the sound of bagpipes and fireworks

7. The meadows on a beautiful sunny day

8. Walking to the end of your road to be greeted by a circus tent (Kudos to the incredible Nofit State!)

9. Having to double take when seeing this… (The best thing I’ve ever seen)

InvisibilityCloak

10. Being able to play the ‘costume or real clothes’ game at every opportunity

11. Any show on the party bus (Courtesy of The Three Sisters, Cowgate)

12. All of the food places. All of them.

This time tomorrow…

That’s right it’s almost that time of the year again, this time tomorrow I will be in beautiful Edinburgh ready to start work on Monday for this years Edinburgh Fringe! After falling in love with the city and the festival last year, I swore that I would go back as soon as my feet touched back down in Bristol!

For the whole of August, I will be surrounded by numerous flyers and posters, actors, techies, other like minded people and the atmosphere is just indescribable! And there’s sure to be a lot of familiar faces up there this summer with a great welsh representation with the likes of Dirty Protest, Pluen Flake, Cwmni Fran Wen, Kitsch & Sync and many more!

Unfortunately I won’t have time to review everything I see as I plan on fitting is as many shows as possible! But I will be doing tweet sized reviews
(Follow me on @chaotickirstyy if you’re interested!) and a round up/top 5 when I come home to help me cope with the inevitable post fringe blues!

If you’re making the trip to Edinburgh too, give me a shout or if you’re taking a show let me know and I’ll do my best to check it out!

Mad, Bad and Dangerous: Everyman are back!

Wales’ biggest open-air theatre festival is back again this year and is heading to Sophia Gardens, Cardiff next month from 4th July – 2nd August.  The Everyman Open Air Theatre Festival has a program full of delicious entertainment for 2014, ready to entertain thousands of audience members, bigger and bolder than ever before.

Take a trip to the barbers with the witty and bloody musical, Sweeney Todd (4-12 July) or join Blackadder and Baldrick in three episodes from Blackadder II (15-21 July).  Watch Kate and Petruchio’s relationship from a new perspective in Shakespeare’s outrageous romantic-comedy, The Taming of the Shrew (25 July-2 August) or swim deep under the sea with Ariel and friends in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (26 July-2 August).  All full of magic, drama and a slice of madness, it’s set to be a real highlight of the summer theatre season for audiences young and old.

All seating for the festival is reserved and under cover, so come rain or shine, the show must go on, as we all know the unpredictable nature of a British summer!  Situated just outside the heart of the city centre, the festival is easily accessible by all modes of transport and with the brilliant team of Everyman volunteers on hand to help, there will definitely be a crew of friendly faces waiting for you!

A whole new world lies just off the main road and you’re invited to be a part of it: Sure to be full of intrigue, excitement and brilliant theatre, the Everyman Open Air Festival is one not to be missed this summer!

Reviews to follow very soon. For more information and to book tickets online, go to the Everyman website or alternatively ring the box office on 03336 663366 for ticket prices from just £7.  Follow @everymanCDF and @everymanfest for more frequent updates or like Everyman Festival on Facebook.