Calvinball – Edinburgh Fringe Review

Royal Botanic Gardens

Ipdip Theatre



Have you ever played a game of Calvinball?

If not, then you should.

In a charming adventure for young children (0-5 year olds), Ipdip theatre create an energetic and enthusiastic game of Calvinball. With a missing set of rules, the performers and audience all become “playmakers” as the game develops.

The performers, Christie Russell-Brown, Robbie Gordon and Camille Marmie, play to their audience with enthusiasm and skill; they read their audience, engaging each child differently and allowing them to participate at their own pace. Composed of elements of many recognisable drama and improvisation games, the show is an open experience for each child to learn and play, with the performers engaging on a one-to-one level with the children at different points, and encouraging group play at others.

While sometimes the language used by the performers evidently goes above the heads of some of the children in the audience, the combination of language and physicality caters to both the younger and slightly older children, giving each the chance to understand it in their own way.  Where a slightly older child may understand and learn from “The Sorry Song” or the song teaching an adapted version of the Gay Gordons, for example, the young babies in the audience can enjoy the sensory experience of hearing the music, being danced with and having free access to the various props.

Calvinball is a delightful production for young audiences which encourages imagination and play in a theatrical experience that is made open and accessible to every child (and grown-up) in the audience.

Calvinball  runs at the Royal Botanic Gardens until August 27th as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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