You can’t beat the Beatties – Falkirk’s first family of the 2017 Fringe Fest

The Beattie family, mum Hazel and daughters Violet and April, will all be performing at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Beattie family, mum Hazel and daughters Violet and April, will all be performing at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Some of us are content to just attend Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Maybe pop along for one or two days or nights to see a couple of shows – perhaps catch a stand-up comic or theatre production – or just pound the steep Royal Mile pavements and take in a few street performers.

One talented family in Polmont will not just be heading through to Edinburgh to watch the action – they will all be a part of it.

The Beatties are performing in or helping bring to the stage a total of five productions at this year’s festival.

Mum Hazel, who works for Falkirk Community Trust, is taking on lead roles in two musicals and one of them will also star her daughters Violet and April. She will also be helping out behind the scenes at two concerts by an amateur theatre company.

Dad Simon, meanwhile, will be playing a major role himself – bringing a children’s favourite to the stage for another great festival run.

Hazel said: “I will be performing in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, playing Mrs Lovett the evil pie maker, and also playing Miss Hannigan in Annie.

“Both these shows are being staged by Captivate Theatre Company in the newly launched Rose Theatre in Edinburgh. My children April and Violet will be performing alongside me in Annie, with April playing the role of Duffy and Violet playing one of the orphan gang.

“This is the first show we have all performed in together and we’re all really looking forward to it.”

Captivate Theatre started life as an afterschool class for children in and around west Edinburgh and since 2011 has grown to become an exciting and dynamic company of actors, musicians and technicians who have a proven track record when it comes to putting on great productions at the Fringe, performing new works, as well as contemporary and classic musicals.

Some of their past productions include Oh! What a Lovely War, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent and Whistle Down the Wind.

Hazel said: “I performed at the last Fringe with Captivate Theatre playing the role of Jean in Sunshine on Leith and I’m delighted to be performing again this year.”

In a part she can literally get her teeth into, Hazel will relish the role of Mrs Lovett, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street’s accomplice and main benefactor of his murderous ways.

The chilling Stephen Sondheim musical has everything a Fringe audience could want – a Victorian setting, plenty of dark humour, exciting music and memorable lyrics.

A show to die for, indeed, and it runs from August 16 to August 27.

At the other end of the suitable family entertainment spectrum is Annie, the feelgood tale of the little orphan who longs to find herself a family and get out of the horrible institution run by horrible Miss Hannigan.

No doubt Hazel, April (12) and Violet (9) will have themselves a ball in the show, which runs from today (Thursday) to August 14, belting out classic songs including Tomorrow and Hard Knock Life as Annie gets a taste of the good life thanks to initially grumpy billionaire Daddy Warbucks

A busy time for any family, but Hazel is also splitting time between Captivate and Edinburgh Music Theatre.

She said: “I am also chairperson of the board of Edinburgh Music Theatre and helping with production on their two shows Fringe Fantasmic! and Anthems: The Movie Musicals.

“Two concerts of great music for all the family and lovers of musical theatre.”

Husband Simon Beattie will also be working hard in Edinburgh over August, as his company Nonsense Room Productions stages a show based on the popular children’s book Hairy Maclary and Friends at the George Square Theatre from today to August 20.

Hazel said: “The show has previously played to sell out audiences at the festival and has toured as far afield as Singapore and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Simon adapted the Hairy Maclary books for stage and will be assisting with the production throughout the run.”

Previous Nonsense Room Productions shows at the Fringe include The Ballad of James II by Douglas Maxwell, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and The Apprentice.

The local interest in the 2017 Fringe Festival does not end there as yet another Captivate Theatre Company production will feature a young performer from the Falkirk area.

No, it’s not another member of the Beattie family – they don’t want to grab all the spotlight – it’s 19-year-old Kara Chalmers.

The former St Mungo’s High School pupil is about to head off to London to study at the Emil Dale Academy of Performing Arts in September, but she has a run of performances at the Gilded Balloon venue in the Rose Theatre, from August 18 to August 27, to take care of first.

The talented actress and singer, a member of Falkirk Children’s Theatre since the age of seven, has, for the second straight year, earned the right to play the much sought after role of Fantine in Les Miserables.

Visit www.captivatetheatre.com, www.nonsenseroom.co.uk and www.facebook.com/edinburghmusictheatre for more information on all upcoming productions by Captivate Theatre Company and Nonsense Room Productions and Edinburgh Music Theatre.

People can also visit www.gildedballoon.co.uk or call the Gilded Balloon on 0131 622 6552 for tickets.