Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing

Tron, Glasgow


Super Human Heroes

The Beacon, Greenock


Mary Brennan

IMAGINATE - the driving force behind this visionary children’s festival - celebrated 30 years of programming initiatives by commissioning new work from two Scottish companies.

Stellar Quines opted to do Finegan Kruckemeyer’s This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing, and conjured up a ‘thrice upon a time’ treat of a tale for over-sevens. Three sisters - 12 year old triplets - are abandoned by their father in a wood: unlike Hansel and Gretel, they split up and go their own ways in an interweaving narrative where fairy-tale fantasy embraces challenging personal truths and lessons in life.

One sister becomes a warrior, protecting villagers from marauders, a second sails away to help others find happiness, the third stays put - and provides a forest refuge for needy critters.

Young audiences might dream of similar colourful choices but director Jemima Levick, and her tremendously engaging cast, cannily shade in the doubts and fears and loneliness that are part of the triplets’ journey towards adulthood - en route finding themselves, finding each other again, and finally arriving home.

Vivid, funny, mischievous, heart-warming - now on at Brunton Theatre, and hopefully touring again soon.

The Letter J used their Imaginate commission to explore the encroaching threat of climate change, and to highlight, through songs and animations, what their young audience (age range 8 - 13 yrs) can do to forestall disaster. Become ‘Super HUMAN Heroes’ that’s what!

But before we reach that upbeat conclusion, our well-intentioned trio of cat-suited’n’caped crusaders have to come down-to-earth and accept they’re only human, not can-do heroes out of comic books.

If this smacks of failure, there’s a jolly rallying cry that ends the show on a positive note: do what you can, do the best that you can - don’t give up because every little helps. Yay! Now on at Edinburgh’s Traverse.