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Fringe Children: Review


WHERE ARE THE THREE LITTLE PIGS?: The remnants of their last meal are still there, but the occupants are missing.
WHERE ARE THE THREE LITTLE PIGS?: The remnants of their last meal are still there, but the occupants are missing.


Traverse, Edinburgh

Mary Brennan

Behind a closed door in the upstairs foyer - a mere step away from the hustle and bustle of Traverse box office queues - is the scene of Something Awful. Something awfully thrilling, inventive, ground-breaking, as well as just a bit eerie-scary: HUFF.

The title comes from the nursery rhyme about the three little pigs and the hungry wolf that stalks them with the malign promise: "I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down." And he's not all hot air, this wolf. His words have teeth.

Shona Reppe and Andy Manley have taken the tale, the threat, the moral it implies and devised a version that is an inspired cross between the forensic puzzles of CSI and the quirky surprises of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland.

In fact, you do not need to know the original story to have your imagination led into a slyly Grimm trip that starts cosily in pinkly kitsch surroundings, sends you through a labyrinth of brilliantly bizarre set-pieces and ends … well, the final room in this walk-through installation is a cleverly jokey but innately dark expression of bunker mentality. It is for you to decide if the little piggy who built it was really safe, or a prisoner of his own fear.

Come to that, where is he? Room after room speaks of a once-upon-a-time home, but as we open drawers and look inside cupboards, the feeling grows that the former occupants left in a hurry. If they left at all, that is.

Defy the "beware" sign on the fridge door ... open it. Now let your imagination run riot, just like Reppe and Manley did when they took the essential fabric of the nursery tale - the pig-headed folly as well as the straw, the sticks, the bricks - and made a fable come alive, with us inside it.

Three by three - adults and children, from the age of eight with no upper limit - we wander through ridiculously witty visual gags, but round every corner there lurks something we can't quite catch sight of. Is it the wolf? Are we safe? Let's just say HUFF gives you paws for thought ...

Run ends August 24

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