Edinburgh Festival Fringe children’s show review: The Overcoat, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott
It’s not even 10am and kids with their early-rising grandparents are waiting to see one of the first shows of the day at Summerhall.
One of the most exciting venues on the Fringe feels unusually still and quiet in the morning sun. However, once inside, we find Korean company Brush Theatre are very much awake, greeting us with smiles and bows, and tying wool the colour of sweets around our wrists as bracelets.
On stage a clown-like girl and her father – charming figures who communicate largely without words – begin building a tent-like screen, upon which quirky little characters are brought to life through wool and projections.
Inspired by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat – not that you really need to know this – the show follows the girl on an Alice in Wonderland-style journey into her imagination as, following the threads from her father’s coat, she tries to find her way out of a surreal fantasy world and back home again.
After getting stuck to the wall by spiders’ woolly webs, she becomes lost in the perpetually changing landscape, one where everyday objects become delightful little creatures – none more so than a friendly elephant, which appears in various guises.
It’s an expertly choreographed piece, which will appeal particularly to under-eights, in which the broadly drawn projections, live action and piano music come together to create a magical and mysterious world where nothing is what it seems. But it also beautifully celebrates the power of young people’s imagination and their ability to create entertainment with simple household props.
Although the girl and the elephant’s friendship takes a while to emerge, when it does it’s poignantly realised through a haunting dream sequence that will thrill younger members of the audience and provide a nostalgic reminder for the adults of all that’s great about childhood.
Summerhall (Venue 26), until 30 August, 9:45am
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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