Visiting the theatre with a toddler, surely that’s a recipe for a disaster I hear you say, but thankfully Peppa Pig’s Surprise at The Palace Theatre, Manchester, proved a winner keeping my toddler spell bound for more than an hour.
My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter is obsessed with Peppa Pig - with the Peppa Pig theme running through most things in our house from clothing to soft toys. So when I heard that this show was coming to the Palace Theatre at Manchester I knew we had to go.
And the show didn’t disappoint with it catering for every Peppa Pig-mad youngster’s dreams.
The curtains open to introduce Daisy, Peppa’s friend. Daisy is looking for Peppa and Peppa’s friends – Suzy Sheep, Pedro Pony and Rebecca Rabbit – then come on stage to help.
The show is made all the more realistic as all the characters are puppets positioned on little platforms and manoeuvred by cast members who are hidden from little eyes thanks to being dressed all in black.
Peppa and George peep out from the wings of the stage, until Daisy eventually finds Peppa and George which is met with lots of panto-style shouts of “she’s over there”!
Peppa and her friends then have a play and sing the song “Today is the Day”. Mummy and Daddy Pig then appear on stage to announce there is going to be a big surprise the next day!
The scene then changes to Peppa and George having a bath in readiness for bed. Daisy has a bucket with lots of soapy water and she produces enormous bubbles that float off into the front rows much to the delight of the youngsters seated there. There is also lots of splashing in the bath and staff members from the theatre use large water guns to spray the audience with water so it’s like they are being splashed as well.
The scene then changes to bedtime and Peppa and George are in their bunk beds. Daisy reads them a bedtime story - “The Red Monkey” and the character from the story then appears on the stage, but Daisy can’t see him so once again we have lots of panto-style shouts of “he’s behind you”. Peppa and George finally fall asleep prompting a short interval of 30 minutes to buy drinks and snacks as well as the essential trips to the toilet.
The second half of the show starts with Peppa, George, Daisy, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig in the car on the way for the big surprise which turns out to be a trip to the seaside. However, the car unfortunately breaks down which is the cue for lots of steam from the bonnet and other commotion. While the car is being fixed the actors bring the words for the chorus of the much loved “Bing Bong” song on to the stage so that everyone can join in. There is also a dance with the opportunity for the children to learn the actions – hands in the air, point and twirl around.
Once the car is working again they set off for the seaside, where Peppa’s friends make a surprise appearance. Activities such as making sand castles and covering Daddy Pig in sand follow with great special effects.
The conversation then changes to going rock-pooling. Daisy explains what it is before the lights go down and everyone sings the “cheeky little crab song”. At this point all the other puppets appear against the black back drop, but are all really highlighted as they are illuminous. The orange crab, which scuttles from side to side, the fish and sea horses all look amazing and it’s a really nice touch. And when we sang the crab song there were pinching actions for the children to join in with.
The rock-pooling scene finishes and they pack up to return home, almost forgetting Daddy Pig who has been sleeping all the time they have been at the beach!
The show was an amazing experience for my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
It was great to visit a proper traditional theatre, sit so high up and see my daughter’s delight as she watched her favourite characters from TV live.
She was absolutely spell bound for the entire show and enjoyed joining in with the singing and actions.
Unfortunately, Peppa Pig’s Surprise is no longer playing at The Palace Theatre at Manchester, but for details of other shows visit: http://palacetheatremanchester.net/