HUFF Traverse, Edinburgh

I thought it was a children’s walk-through amusement, something to keep the little bleeders willing to accompany parents to the serious Traverse plays below. Had too many reviews to do anyway. But that heroine of fringe and innovative theatre, Lynn Gardner of the Guardian, said “Go. It takes twenty minutes. Go”.  So I booked a slot, divested myself of shoes and bag, and crept into a tiny room and sat down on some suitcases to watch revolving musical china pigs on a dresser . And I saw that she was right as usual. One must abnegate adulthood sometimes if one is to maintain balance.
What Shona Rebbe and Andy Manley have created (for Catherine Wheels) is indeed child-friendly: a series of miniature rooms taking you – surreally and obliquely – into the domestic world of the three little pigs: the reckless jerrybuilders who used sticks and straw, and the prudent one with the bricks.  The joy is in its weirdness: you are encouraged to handle and touch things, and you open the kitchen drawers to find bricks, find a fridge worryingly full of Italian ham, and a washing machine spewing straw. It has an unpretentious Dali-cum-fairytale appeal.


A disembodied kindly voice leads you on, telling you which wall is the door out (my favourite instruction is “pull on the underpants”. The bathroom is upside down, lav on the ceiling: sometimes you are in a cupboard, once a garage, always with offbeam, slightly threatening suggestions of the prowling wolf only countered by determined porcine domesticities.
It is quite lovely. Thank you Lynn. Unaccompanied children should be 8 at least (CCTV watches out for panic). But with siblings or parents , six year olds have loved it. As for lone adults…well, I played with everything and had a little dance once or twice. Bliss.
box office 0131 228 1434 to 24 aug
rating four

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