Innes McQuillin

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: five shows for children

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The Edinburgh Fringe has a ton of great shows for kids. And the good news is that there’s lots of free entertainment too.

Start by joining the crowds gathered round acrobats, escapologists, magicians, musicians, trick cyclists and other street performers on the Royal Mile. While you’re there, pick up more flyers than easyJet as costumed actors and “up-and-coming” comedians hustle for an audience. It’s high energy and kids will love the buzz.

But picking the right shows is what the Fringe is all about – so here’s our five sure-fire winners for children.

Comedy Club 4 Kids

Comedy Club 4 Kids

The best ideas are often disarmingly simple. Like a comedy club for kids. With a proper MC, support acts and a headliner.

As Edinburgh turns into comedy central during August, the bill is sure to feature a raft of top TV and circuit performers, with material tailored especially for kids aged 6 and over.

It almost sounds too good for kids.

Assembly Roxy, 4.15pm, 31 July-24 August

I Hate Children Children’s Show

Top American magician Paul Nathan has a repertoire of tricks that quickly grabs attention. The show is unique in getting every kid (who wants to) on stage.

Paul is a master at interacting with kids and dealing with the unexpected things they do and say. He’s also a genius at insulting them and their parents!

Kids love it, queuing up to be next on and reluctant to leave the stage after their moment in the spotlight. Ideal for kids from aged 8, it’s a show for families that can laugh at themselves.

Pleasance Courtyard, 12.35pm, 30 July-25 August

The Luck Child

A super funny fairytale about a boy, the seventh son of a seventh son, destined to be King.

Aussie comedian David Collins gives a virtuoso performance as, a la Monty Python and the Holy Grail, he plays all the parts. Little wonder he’s collecting best show awards as he tours the Festival circuit.

At heart a magical adventure story, suitable for kids aged 4-10, its laughs all the way for adults too.

Gilded Balloon, 11.30am, 2, 3, 8 & 15 August only

Funny Stuff For Happy People

Former circus performer Martin Mor’s beard blows ZZ Top out of the water. He’s also got a great show that combines his circus skills with comedy, storytelling and stupid science.

A must for fans of audience participation, Martin (Blue Peter, CBBC Live) weaves a mischievous brand of magic that captures and enthrals kids from aged 3 onwards.

Children will remember this anarchic hour when others are long forgotten, while adults will remember the sheer joy on their faces.

Stand in the Square, 11.00am, 1-24 August (not 11, 18-21 August)    

CeilidhKids at the Fringe

More workshop than show, the accomplished organisers magically persuade a bunch of 3-7 year olds to march, jump and (sort of) dance their way through simplified versions of Scottish Ceilidh classics.

Adults can sit and watch, but the foot tapping music soon has them experiencing the real fun of Ceilidh dancing, as different generations get up on the floor together.

It’s free. It’s great fun. And it’s hugely popular.

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 10.00am & 11.00am, 1-24 August (not 13 & 20 August)