Peppa Pig. Two words that send most pre-schoolers into a muddy puddle frenzy and their parents into a porky pit of despair.
She’s simultaneously a lifesaver when you need five minutes of peace and is your nemesis at any other time of the day. Love her or hate her, Peppa Pig is a household name in the UK.
So, it was surprising to me that such a showbiz personality would be making an appearance at Kettering’s Lighthouse Theatre. It’s not a huge venue and the only other times I’ve been there is to see productions from local theatre schools. However, there is free parking (always a bonus) and the more intimate setting is perfect for little ones, as well as being ideal for the interactive elements of the show.
Peppa Pig’s Adventure is essentially a beefed-up episode of Peppa Pig, lasting around an hour and 20 minutes with an interval halfway through. The usual suspects are there – Pedro Pony, Suzie Sheep, Gerald Giraffe and, of course, Peppa and George – and all are kept in line by Madame Gazelle and Mummy and Daddy Pig, plus a new friend called Daisy.
Daisy, the only ‘human’ friend, opens the show and sets the scene; it’s her first day at school but she can’t find any of the other children. The audience are quickly brought into the story as they are encouraged to help Daisy look for the other children, resulting in lots of laughs and squeals from the younger audience members as their favourite characters appear on stage from their hiding places one by one.
The characters themselves are puppets and it really is amazing to watch the actors not only operate the larger-than-life animals but also take on the personas and voices of Peppa and her friends, all while singing and dancing. Occasionally they would pop up from behind the puppets but it didn’t seem to phase any of the children, who were all too captivated by the action on stage to notice anything.
There are songs a-plenty in the classroom scenes complete with live percussion being played on stage (noise!) and audience participation before everyone hops aboard a bus and heads to the forest for an overnight camping trip. More fun ensues as Peppa and her friends, plus all the kids in the audience, learn more about nature and the kinds of animals you meet when you’re sleeping outdoors. When they all wake up the next morning, they’re delighted to see it’s been raining, and we all know what that means in Peppa’s world… muddy puddles! The show ends with all of the characters enjoying a moment of splashing around, which you really have no choice but to enjoy too (and that’s all I’ll say for fear of ruining the surprise!)
The show is high-energy, fun and full of songs to sing along to (I’ve not stopped singing the flipping Bing Bong song) and I couldn’t help smiling all the way through simply because of the reactions of my toddler and his cousin. It reminded me a lot of some of the baby sensory classes we went to when he was smaller – there’s UV lights, puppets, a colourful set and musical instruments, and Daisy is reminiscent of an excitable TV presenter but that’s really the point of it. The kids all had a fab time and my toddler, who doesn’t normally stay still for longer than ten minutes at a time, was engaged for the whole show. So it works. That said, it does require a lot of grown-up interaction to get the kids going so don’t imagine you’re going to get away with lurking on Facebook while your little ones enjoy the show – you’ll need to cheer, clap and dance too.
It’s an exciting and fun experience for pre-schoolers and the ideal way to pass a couple of hours doing something new!
Peppa Pig’s Adventure will be at the Derngate in Northampton on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September 2018. For more information and tickets visit: http://www.peppapiglive.com/
Performance: 21 March 2018, The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering.
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