Children’s Show review: The Magical Playroom 
with CBeebies’ Cerrie Burnell

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: The Magical Playroom 
with CBeebies’ Cerrie Burnell at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), reviewed by Sue Wilson

It may not be the production’s fault (though someone could have checked, or objected), but given the Pleasance’s myriad available sub-venues, who on earth decided to put a show aimed at age 3+ into a poorly-signposted space tucked right away in the Courtyard’s furthest back corner, down two sets of concrete stairs and up several flights of metal ones – with, of course, the reverse journey to follow? I wasn’t in the best of humours when I finally got there, and I didn’t even have any children in tow.

CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell’s part-autobiographical solo performance, however, as a young girl resisting parental and other pressures to wear a prosthetic forearm, in place of the one she was born without, proves thoroughly captivating for its young audience, thanks to Burnell’s skill and charm in enacting childlike behaviour and language sans cutesiness – at least for the first half or two-thirds of its duration.

The disability issue is addressed squarely but blithely (though one sequence’s seeming endorsement of using it to jump queues seems questionable), and the central follow-your-dreams message vibrantly delivered. Despite Burnell’s switching between different characters, however, an hour-long, one-person show, with an essentially unchanging set, is evidently a stretch for its age-group’s attention span, at least in the absence of greater visual and dramatic variety.

MORE INFO: The Magical Playroom 
with CBeebies’ Cerrie Burnell at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 16-18 August

Originally published in The Scotsman