For two years running, we have been stopped in our tracks by rain and distance from getting to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh for their offering of children’s theatre. And what a loss for us. The John Hope Gateway building alone is a true treasure trove of botany-related information and learning activities to dip into on a rainy day, and it has one of the best café terraces I have seen this side of the British Channel.
Ipdip theatre has chosen its venue well, transporting us out of the festival hustle and bustle into a world of their own. In the case of their latest show, created especially for an audience of babies, it is a carefree world of Cirrus the shepherd dog. Unusually for baby theatre, the piece has a story (delivered in rhyming couplets) thus appealing to older siblings too. But more importantly, it has balloons and boxes and shiny things and fragrant things and two swift storytelles equipped to deal with any lapses of concentration or sudden incursions into the performing area by wandering audience members.
Truth be told, the performance space – an adapted seminar room – is small and contained, resulting in a rather intimate seating arrangement. But the show is certainly well oiled allowing for enough time at the end to play with the props. Some audience members certainly looked as though they could hardly wait for that bit, especially when it came to meeting the sheep made out of baby bath towels or big white balloons.
And if you don’t have a baby of your own, just take a friend with a baby along – you’re all guaranteed to enjoy the adventure.