Want to bond with your kids? Make theatre with them! That’s a lesson these families performing at Camden Fringe have taken to heart. Now in its 14th year, London’s alternative to Edinburgh Fringe runs from 29 July and 25 August 2019 with over 300 shows across 30 different venues, including these four.
The Camden Fringe Festival never fails to offer unusual shows, but this year sees a new trend emerging: parents and children making shows together.
One-off children’s show Samson and Mabel Charge at You Like An Ox and A Voyage Round The Second Mrs Tayto make their debuts at the festival, two father/child shows where the kids lead the way with lots of humour.
And, on a more serious note, Get Over It Productions are one of the only companies to return to the fringe 13 out of 14 years. This year they bring If Nothing Happens by Sue Hassall (9-10 August, The Chapel Playhouse) starring Paula Benson and directed by Paula’s daughter, Velenzia Spearpoint.
Samson and Mabel Charge at You Like An Ox (12 August, The Bill Murray) sees “the UK’s youngest stand-up double-act Samson (12) and Mabel (11)” perform alongside their award-winning and Perrier nominated stand-up, writer, lyricist and comedian father Howard Read. Co-creator Read explained about Samson and Mabel’s debut production:
“I obviously want their show to be great, and have quite a lot of experience to help them. But nobody wants to see two kids performing something their dad has written, the show has to come from them. So knowing when to shut up, step back and let them figure it out for themselves was the hardest bit.”
Offering their children a license to create whilst bringing the comedy out of the parent-child relationship is establishing a new kind of theatre; one that is relatable, unique and liberating. Jack Wheeler (58) and Helen Suilis (29) take the parent/child show into adulthood, with their comedy A Voyage Round The Second Mrs Tayto (1 August, The Chapel Playhouse).
“The thing I didn’t expect about doing a show with my dad is that whenever I mention it to anybody they say how cool he must be,” said Helen Suilis of A Voyage Round The Second Mrs Tayto. “They never say how cool I must be, so I am glad I’ll be able to bask in his reflected coolness, which is always a good thing to have when you make a show with someone.”
Finally, stretching the familial creative connections a little further is Rox, Paper and The Scissors (3 August, Cockpit). Written by Miranda Duffy as a means of helping parents and carers teach their children about democracy and the rule of law, this Gone to the Dogs three-hander. stars Miranda’s niece, Hannah Duffy as the titular and practically minded Paper.
Full festival programme
For details on all 300+ shows in the 2019 Camden Fringe programme, visit the festival websiteClick here