+3 Review: Oskar’s Amazing Adventure (Gilded Balloon Teviot: Until 27 Aug: 11.50: 40min)

“The highest praise I can think of is to jump up and down in my seat squealing ‘Again! Again!'”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars: Outstanding

It’s the middle of a hard winter in Switzerland. The little house on the top of the mountain is snowbound. Oppressed with cabin fever, fun loving puppy Oskar runs off in search of new friends to play with.

The show is based on the picture book by celebrated children’s author Colin Granger. Colin is of course a part owner of Komedia Brighton, and (once upon a time) was the author of the Heinemann English Grammar (which is yet to be dramatised for the stage). All the original characters are present, including Oskar, his friend the Marmot, the hungry Fox, Grandma, the chickens, the other puppies. The only exception is Mrs Goat who lost her seat on the tour bus to Colin.

We enter to find an alpine backdrop hung from rustic timbers. In front is a canvas pyramid with three of the four sides painted with a particular scene from the narrative that is about to unfold. With the occasional turn of this pyramid by performer Natasha Granger, Oskar’s story is revealed. Not since the Pharaoh Khufu walked out of Dunbar and Sons onto Morningside Road, having just purchased the ultra deluxe funerary care package, has a pyramid been put to such effective use.

This production is a grace and flavour mansion giving Colin Granger’s charming narrative a home away from home. The grace is delivered by his daughter Natasha whose fluid movement melts in and out of the liquid lighting and soundscape. The flavour is unmistakably alpine – crisp, simple, elegant. The interplay of stagecraft and performance is balanced and nuanced. The puppetry (including some shadow play on one side of the pyramid) empowers rather than overpowers. The effect is hugely satisfying, whether this is your first ever show or simply your latest.

It’s a safe bet that the Children’s section of the Fringe guide is the growth area to watch and shows like Oskar’s are in the vanguard. A glance at the reviews on EdFringe.com reveals where that vanguard will encounter the sharpest slings and arrows. Audiences love this show (as they should). The “professionals” are noticeably less excited. Why would they be? It’s fairly obvious that they weren’t accompanied by a reliable preschooler.

You might have noticed that it’s really quite expensive to come to Edinburgh in August and this is true for pundits as well as for producers and punters. Bringing a kid along too (without the support of local grandparents in residence) is a big ask, but it must be better answered. As the children’s section of the Fringe guide grows, reviewers and their publishers need to be much better at reflecting the artistry and talent that shows intended for younger audiences are already delivering.

This was my own preschooler’s first ever live show and I am so massively grateful to Theatre Fideri Fidera for making it such a positive and memorable experience for us both. Oskar’s Adventure may not strike a jaded 20-something as particularly amazing, but for preschoolers first noticing the big wide world (and for those of us privileged to attend them on their journey) the perspective offered is just right. The highest praise I can think of is to jump up and down in my seat squealing “Again! Again!”



Reviewer: Dan Lentell (Seen 23 August)


+3 Interview: Oskar’s Amazing Adventure

“Theatre Fideri Fidera is myself, Marina Kobler and our daughter Natasha Granger I write and direct, Marina is the designer, set builder, and puppet maker, and our daughter is the performer.”

WHO: Colin Granger, Director, writer

WHAT: “Desperate for some fun, Oskar leaves the snowbound, little house on top of the mountain to find a friendly animal to play with. But where are all the animals? And why does Oskar have to wait till spring to play his favourite game again? This heart-warming, humorous play uses a rich mix of storytelling, physical theatre, puppetry, music and song to tell the tale of a puppy’s search for friendship in the wilderness of the Alps. A brand new play by Anglo-Swiss Theatre Fideri Fidera – the company that brought you Pitschi, the Kitten with Dreams.”

WHERE: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14) ​

WHEN: 11:50 (40 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

We have been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe for 35 years. In the 80’s as Umbrella Theatre, we brought our own original productions based on the work of great European cabaretists such as Karl Valentine and Alphonse Allais.

Then after setting up Komedia in Brighton, we ran Southside and Roman Eagle Lodge venues for a number of years programming them with our venue Komedia’s trademark mix of comedy, theatre and cabaret; and most notably between 1999 and 2008 we co-produced with Wolfgang  Hoffman, the multi award-winning Aurora Nova Festival of International Physical and Visual theatre at St Stephens bring companies from all over the world to the fringe.  And finally, and much more recently, and getting back to our roots as theatre makers, in association with Komedia Brighton we set up a new children’s theatre company Theatre Fideri Fidera and in 2014 brought to the fringe Pitschi, the Kitten with Dreams, which has performed all over the UK and Ireland and has had over been performed over 300 times so far.

Our new children’s play this August is Oskar’s Amazing Adventure and we hope for similar success.

Tell us about your show.

It’s produced by Theatre Fideri Fidera in association with Komedia. It’s an original play for young children. Theatre Fideri Fidera is myself, Marina Kobler and our daughter Natasha Granger I write and direct, Marina is the designer, set builder, and puppet maker, and our daughter is the performer.

This is the premiere. It goes on national tour like our first production as Theatre Fideri Fidera, Pitschi the Kitten with Dreams, which has so far performed at over 60 UK theatres and had more than 300 performances since we premiered it in Edinburgh in 2015.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

My daughter’s other show: 2 becomes 1 – a musical about speed dating she wrote and performs in.