Celeste’s Circus

Aug 18 2019 | By More

★★★★☆    Joyous fun

Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30): Thurs 1– Sun 25 Aug 2019
Review by Hugh Simpson

Celeste’s Circus, Faux Theatre’s production at the Storytelling Centre, is a warmly involving treat for 0-5 year-olds.

Performer, creator and director Francisca Morton is Celeste, complete with exaggeratedly fake French accent, who welcomes the young audience expertly before taking them on a trip to a circus filled with cute animals.

Francisca Morton and Celia. Pic Faux Theatre

There is a determinedly retro, homespun feel to the whole thing, with most of the animals – a peek-a-boo cat, dogs or elephants – represented by cut-outs. There is also an unfeasibly cute seal pup which gives the opportunity for some subtle puppetry. Despite (or perhaps because of) the use of nothing more high-tech than the odd bit of velcro, there is a commanding feel to it all.

It certainly scores in accomplishment and immediacy, and does not feel swamped in the relatively expansive surroundings of the Netherbow Theatre – although a seat nearer the front definitely helps. The production is largely geared towards very young children, although there is a lot for slightly older ones to enjoy, such as welcome poo or pants jokes.

utterly transfixed

Morton clearly knows exactly what she is doing, and is able to carry on admirably in the face of sections of the audience who may not be entirely familiar with the etiquette of theatre (a situation she cleverly attributes to the adults present).

Her persona is just right – neither too forbidding nor too icky. The pacing is excellent, with none of the various sections outstaying their welcome. Even the very youngest audience members are utterly transfixed.

Francisca Morton and Helga. Pic Faux Theatre

The depiction of a circus with animals may seem outdated in Scotland now, but this is a strictly cartoon version – hippos on the high-wire never existed in circuses outside Disney in the first place. Anyway, this isn’t really about circuses; it is about the power of the imagination, and about how straightforward techniques can create powerful effects.

In other words, it is about the power of theatre. And this, in its clever use of apparently simple things, is the ideal way of introducing the very young to its possibilities. For its target audience, this is highly recommended.

Running time: One hour 5 minutes (no interval)
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High St, EH1 1SR (Venue 30)
Thursday 1 –Sunday 25August 2019
Daily (not 6-8, 13-15 or 20-22) at 10.30 am
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/celeste-s-circus

Website: http://fauxtheatre.weebly.com
Facebook: @fauxtheatre
Twitter: @fauxtheatre


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