Rebecca Morse: Festival + Family = Fun

Festival + Family = Fun

Straight out of the eating, drinking and socialising haze of the Festive Season comes the eating, drinking and socialising haze of the Festival Season.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, to Frantic February and Mad March, where I will attempt to perform my own magic tricks to stop my little ones saying, “I’m bored” and stop my teen binge-watching Brooklyn 99 by dazzling them with the fun-filled family adventure that is exploring the offerings of the Adelaide Fringe.

How lucky are we that our hometown plays host to Australia’s biggest and most successful open access arts festival?

We can see some of the biggest names in comedy, catch a sexy cabaret show on a night out with
the grown-ups or just stroll through the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Gluttony and the RCC and pick a show for the kids.

I want my children to grow up exposed to and appreciative of the kind of culture and art that has to be experienced outside the confines of a screen in the palm of their hands.

So, how do I choose what we see?

Well, I’ll be honest, the suitability and age- appropriateness of some of my selections has been determined by trial and error over the years.

Some of the errors include taking the teen to an otherwise harmless performance that included a flash of full frontal male nudity. I think my speedy parental reflexes managed to cover her eyes just in time. I was very thorough in my examination of when it was safe for her to resume watching because I take supervision seriously. (Best also to be careful when selecting shows with puppetry in the title, if you get my drift.)

I must also confess that some mildly offensive language has slipped through my strict parenting net, but given I have been known to swear like a sailor on rare occasions (very rare occasions when I am under extreme mental duress like performing any form of housework) my little ruffians did not raise an eyebrow.

You know what you could try? Take the family to see a magician/illusionist and see if they can make you vanish for just enough time to allow you to sneak out and grab a rosè and a bowl of carbs.

Rest-assured, I do also consult the section of the Fringe guide that’s pitched specifically at young and impressionable audiences.

For example, I enjoy exposing my flexibility- challenged offspring to child circus performers to encourage them to, at the very least, persevere with learning how to do a cartwheel, use a hula- hoop, or perform a dif cult balancing act on an unstable tightrope of emotion to equip them for the challenges of adulthood.

Or one of the many choral and musical shows on offer may provide you and your family with an unique opportunity to raise your voices together in song rather than frustration.

During festival season, Womad is another wonderful way to expose your children to peace and harmony. My kids love experiencing the sounds of world music and the smells of exotic food, although it’s the chocolate-filled donuts that always seem to be the aroma most enticing for them.

Tickets aren’t cheap but the entertainment is world-class (hence the name), kids under 12 get in for free and there are discounts for under 18s.

And if you, the small people, or the other half are suffering from Festival fatigue or are more into the sports than the arts, don’t despair, the Superloop Adelaide 500 and the return of footy season are just around the corner.

Happy Festival families!