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Maddy Carrick: How to survive a day at the Fringe with the kids

By | Published on Friday 8 August 2014

If you are planning to spend a day at the Fringe with your little ones, you might be feeling a little bit daunted – after all, it’s a massive festival, and there’s so much to choose from.

Maddy Carrick

Comedian and children’s entertainer Maddy Carrick offers a few suggestions; and while you may not quite be able to manage all of this in one day, you can definitely try. They’ll certainly sleep well after all this.

You’ve managed to finally bundle your brood onto the bus / train / tram / car / plane, or perhaps for you it’s just a gentle stroll across the Meadows; regardless, you have finally arrived at the Fringe with pint-sized theatregoers in tow. But where to start? The kids are most likely collecting every flyer given to them for their own bulging personal collections, but how do you wade through the show posters, postcards, stickers, badges, balloons and work out what you want to see? And why is everything on at the same time?

This is my second Fringe performing a solo comedy show for kids and I think I have a pretty good gauge of what’s on offer for little ones – mostly from sneakily exit flyering other shows and judging the audience reaction.

I always think a good place to begin is with a good brekkie. Peter’s Yard is a lovely spot, and great for kids, with long tables and plenty of room for buggies. They have tables outside with plenty of running around space. Next, if your child is a Keira Knightley or Orlando Bloom in the making, why not make your way up to Hanover Street and drop them at one of the drama workshops at the Merchants’ Hall? They start at 9.30am, and they are run by Fringe performers. Elsewhere, one of my personal favourites is ‘CelidhKids’ at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, which offers two daily workshops at 10.00am and 11.00am. Scottish dancing! A must for locals and visitors alike!

After dancing or drama classes, you’ll be in need of a sit-down and your first show. My tip would be ‘The Snow Dog’ at the Pleasance, which features puppetry, music and a real-life Siberian husky! While you are in the area, you might want to take advantage of the venue’s Kidzone, where children can get busy with a range of arts and crafts. Then it’s on to the highlight of your day – big giggles and crazy dancing at my show, ‘The World’s Worst Birthday Party’, on at 12.45pm in the Yurt Locker in the Three Sisters Courtyard. Suitable for 4-10 year olds, it’s a silly adventure featuring pranks, fortune tellers and Harry Styles.

After all that fun, it’s time for lunch, and where better to re-fill than Mum’s on Forrest Road? Hungry tummies will appreciate the big helpings of sausages and mash.

Once your little ones are completely stuffed, head over to Underbelly at Bristo Square to gaze at the giant cow, and be sure to stop in at the Assembly Gardens, a lovely spot for a sit down, with plenty of space for the kids to have a run around.

In the afternoon, you could send the older kids and teenagers to watch plays at Spaces or C Venues, while for younger kids, the children’s comedy compilation shows are quite good fun. Try ‘Huggers’ at the Three Sisters, or ‘Comedy All Sorts’ at Assembly George Square Gardens. If you can get a babysitter or have someone to watch the kids – a friendly circus act perhaps? – do make time for my solo comedy show, Maddy Carrick in Maddy’s Carrickters at 3.40pm.

Next, something that sounds very exciting – an actual magic mystery tour! A trip on a bus around Edinburgh with dancers propelling themselves down the aisle and from the roof! ‘Back of the Bus’ is on at 4.30pm. Finally, finish your day with a slow wander along the Royal Mile – hopefully at this point your little ones will be so weighed down with flyers they will be less inclined to take everything they are offered… a final flavour of the Fringe.

Maddy recommends:
Drama Workshops for 5-12s, Spotlites @ The Merchants’ Hall, until 24 Aug.
CeilidhKids At The Fringe, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 24 Aug.
The Snow Dog, Pleasance Courtyard, until 23 Aug.
Huggers – Family Friendly Comedy and and Cabaret, Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters and Laughing Horse @ Gorgie City Farm until 23 Aug.
Comedy All Sorts: Variety For Kids, Assembly George Square Gardens, until 24 Aug.
Back Of The Bus, Assembly George Square Gardens, until 21 Aug.

Maddie’s own shows ‘The World’s Worst Birthday Party’ was performed at Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters  and ‘Maddy Carrick In Maddy’s Carrickters’ at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House at Edinburgh Festival 2014.