The Fringe Festival isn’t just for adults anymore. The Festival’s KidsFringe area is breaking attendance records, and a number of kid-friendly plays are drawing plenty of small audience members.
One interesting piece for the whole family is Tick, the story of an 11-year-old girl who leads her friends in a revolution against adult-imposed oppression.
Tick — grand prize winner of the 44th Alberta Playwriting Competition — boasts a script full of laughs. And with references to historical figures such as Che Guevara, writer and director Matthew MacKenzie’s play doesn’t talk down to its intended audience either.
African Folktales with Erik de Waal is especially great for younger kids. Growing up and still today I’ve loved the texture and humour found in traditional African folktales. Nature and animals often feature prominently, and the template also generally comes with a gentle moral or lesson.
In addition to some interesting puppetry, de Waal brings with him boundless energy that keeps his young audience laughing.
A final performance worth mentioning is playwright Ellen Chorley’s original fairytale, The Fairy Catcher’s Companion. Chorley’s show has a nostalgic feel to it, and she readily admits that her complex script borrows themes from such classic children’s books as the Borrowers, the Secret Garden, and the Chronicles of Narnia.
The tale follows two sisters who discover a book that instructs them on how to catch fairies.
The problem is — once the two sisters do catch a fairy — they soon question the wisdom of their decision.