In another of my Edinburgh Festival guest posts, Mara from Toto Tales explains why they got involved with the fringe and why adults and children alike will be drawn to their colourful brand of theatre.
This year Toto Tales is collaborating for the first time with iTheatre, a Singapore based childrens theatre company. It’s an exciting time for us all, as there is so much newness to this experience.
Our show Under the Baobab Tree (‘A Must See’ in The Stage yesterday, WOOHOOO!!) is an exciting blend of puppetry, ridiculously interactive storytelling and plenty of music and dancing to keep anyone happy.
You may think it sounds like any other kids show, but it’s not quite. The stories are based on some fantastic African folktales and are performed by an international cast, which adds a tremendously culturally diverse element to the production.
The colours in the set conjure up images and dreams of Africa and the puppets have been specially made for the show by one of the Star Wars puppeteers. They are very special indeed and attract both children and puppets in droves. They are of exceptional quality and are so lifelike! We are not a company that steers away from the truth, so despite the show being aimed at 2-8 year olds, our Japanese inspired crocodile puppet has sharp teeth and long claws that allow the children to feel the fear and deal with it in a safe environment. Also the laws are of nature are not hidden away and as crocodiles eat other animals there are plenty of chases!
One lucky creature is our ego driven zebra, who is desperate to be in a story. ‘It’s all about me… Me! Me! Me!’ ‘How very dare you!’ I am incredible,’ and other such comments flow effortlessly from his lips – to the chagrin of the storyteller and the delight of the audience.
We have had some great testimonials from children this year – pupils from St Mary’s Primary School in Hamilton loved that we explained Kenyan and world history in a different and interesting way and even said “this has definitely been one of the best experiences we have had at primary school and we will remember and treasure it forever.”
With ostriches, hyenas, monkeys and gazelles, there is something to delight the fussiest of theatre goers and best of all it is genuinely FUN!!!!