Best children's shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

WALKING down any street in central Edinburgh in the summer, you will see boards, walls and railings plastered in advertisements for a plethora of festival shows '“ there really is something for everyone.

Arr We There Yet. Picture: Contributed

However, a selection of intelligent political satire and shows simply about sex do not make for suitably family friendly content. So, here are a few for the kids.

Is This a Dagger? The Story of MacBeth.

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Rating: ****

“Andy Cannon is a man with storytelling in his blood; a performer who can take the trickiest, most complicated of narratives and deliver it to a young audience as if it were a simple nursery rhyme.”

Is This a Dagger? really captures the essence of what makes a family show: it’s possible for the children to follow yet still doesn’t patronise the parents. As he uses his minimal visual aids, Cannon takes the parts of several different characters as he retells Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, MacBeth, and then even manages to add a historically accurate version of the tale of the Scottish king too.

Age suitability: 8+

Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30)

Dates on: August 14-16, 18-20

Buy tickets here.

How to Be a Kid.

Rating: ****

“All Paines Plough theatre company brings to the stage is themselves – three actors who build an entire world before our eyes, purely through their talent and our imagination.”

How to Be a Kid is a serious but child friendly show which tackles how people process grief through the eyes of 12-year-old Molly – and it still manages to get some clever comedy in there too. Plaines Plough Theatre tells the story of how Molly looks after her energy-filled little brother at home following five weeks in care while their mother recovered in hospital.

Age suitability: 7+

Venue: Roundabout @ Summer Hall (Venue 26)

Dates on: August 16-20

Buy tickets here.

Arr We There Yet?

Rating: ***

“A rip-roaring and swashbuckling adventure in which three sailors hit the high seas in search of treasure! A scallywag pirate, a muscular sailor and a chef with a seafood allergy make for a hopeless crew, as they fight for the title of captain aboard the ship.”

Head First Acrobats take the classic children’s show setting of a pirate ship and mix it up with some acrobatics and circus skills to keep it unique. Really more aimed at younger children, its focus is fun rather than showing a new point of view – but the fun is still in abundance. With walking a plank becoming the high-flying teeterboard and cooking for the crew involving knife juggling, “Arr We There Yet?” produces squeals of laughter.

Age suitability: 3+

Venue: Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows (Venue 360)

Dates on: Until August 26

Buy tickets here.


Rating: ****

“Scottish comedian Chris Henry brings his hit kids show, Balloonatics, to Edinburgh as part of his world tour. A guaranteed chaos-filled, fun-packed hour of inflatable buffoonery, with never a dull moment for parent or child.”

Another classic family show, a comedian with balloons is always a hit. Acting as an awful balloonist at first, Henry shows off his famous lightning-quick balloon tying skills with interludes of stand-up comedy. No matter how old you are, balloon artists always leave you in awe, and Henry does not fail to amaze with his charming routine.

Age suitability: 4-12

Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

Dates on: August 19-20 and 26-27