Celeste's Circus

★★★★
kids review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Celeste's Circus
Published 16 August 2016

Toddlers are natural born hecklers, unafraid to fill the air with wails, boos or cries of "I don't like it!" So it's a real testament to the skill of Francisca Morton that the first kid to break her audience's silence was a tiny, wondering voice saying, "This is funny!" And her French-accented storytelling show genuinely is, whether you're two, three, four or fighting off an Edinburgh hangover with a grown-up sized vat of coffee.

She's chic and prim in a smart red outfit, with a matching handbag that turns into a bus and drives her off to the circus – starring a hippo, performing dogs, a seal and a friendly cat. But all these thrills and spills fit neatly onto a tabletop. Her artfully designed circus is a neat cardboard construction that conceals more surprises than an advent calendar. She lifts flaps, pulls levers and shakes clappers to bring her 2D stars to life. 

The younger portion of the audience are delighted; even the babies are on board with this small-scale spectacle. But there are plenty of enjoyably arch moments for adults to giggle at, too. When a paper dog does a paper poo, she bags it up and gives it to a parent with a nappy bag. And her tactful but firm insistence on decent audience behaviour pays off, too – with the exception of a man who seemed happy to let his toddler crawl up onto the stage and towards this delicate little world. But then, a performance that's so tiny, bright and beautiful demands a closer look.