Duck, Death and the Tulip

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (children’s shows): Duck, Death and the Tulip at Summerhall (Venue 26). Review by Kelly Apter

More so than most shows, your experience of Duck, Death and the Tulip will depend largely on your view of the content. Is a show about death the ideal way for you to introduce your young charge to the harsh reality of their time on earth? Or is a trip to the theatre a place for exploring and enjoying less depressing topics?

It’s a tough one, which will inevitably divide parents. But chances are, children will take this show, and its subject matter, in their stride.

Visually, the production hits its target audience of two- to seven-year-olds straight on. A large golden sun glistens in the sky, a gentle score tinkles in the background, and a puppet duck interacts with a tulip.
Death appears in two guises: one a lovely old gentleman, with a kind manner and wise answers about what happens when we die. But he also appears as a puppet, complete with a rather disturbing skull head, removing any element of subtlety, although again, it’s more likely to trouble the adults than the children.

When duck’s eventual demise comes, it’s handled with grace and sensitivity, using the beautiful set to carry him off in a gentle and largely unemotional way.

Until 24 August. Today 10am, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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