Friday, 27 August 2010

Review: In the Night Garden... Live!

Dylan loves In the Night Garden.
It started when he was about 6 months old - Iggle Piggle caught his attention, and for a time, Mummy or Daddy 'doing the dance' was a surefire route to fits of baby giggles.
Nowadays, he's more a fan of Makka Pakka's neurotic stone cleaning & the Tombliboos loud music, but safe to say, The Night Garden gang have earned a big place in his heart.

So when we were given the opportunity to see the new live show at The o2 in London, we jumped at the chance. But the pressure was on - the production team had a lot to live up to!

Did they succeed in bringing the magic of the garden to life? In a word, yes. Brilliantly.

On arrival, we were greeted by the ENORMOUS Ha-Hoos & a lengthy wall freeze of all the other characters (Dylan insisted on hugging each one individually - many photos were taken.)
The atmosphere was fabulous - children of all ages with faces full of delight & excitement - before they'd even got inside the specially designed theatre domes!

The domes, two of them, which look like something between huge seashells and armadillos, are amazing.  The first houses a reception area, buggy park, souvenirs, refreshments, toilets & baby changing facilities - everything you could need - perfect.  The second, is where things get really exciting.

The stage, is a beautiful recreation of the garden - complete with luscious green grass, tall trees, and twinkly bushes doubling up as mood lighting. The domed ceiling is used for projecting lights and imagery throughout - from stars, to blossom falling from the trees, to the Tittifers singing their songs. It's really very clever.

The seating is built with small people in mind - almost like tiered benches rather than individual seats, so families can spread out or cuddle up as they please.

We sat down about 10 minutes before the show was due to start, and I admit, there was a tiny part of me worrying that I'd have to take Dylan out after 10 minutes.  He's a wriggly little ball of energy at the best of times, he'd been trapped in his pram on the train & the underground, now he was over excited - how likely was he to sit still and pay attention?

I needn't have worried at all.

The lights dimmed, the familiar music started, and the dulcet tones of Sir Derek Jacobi filled the room.
And Dylan was transfixed.
He didn't take his eyes off the stage for forty five minutes.

A six foot Iggle Piggle bounded out, clutching his blanket, and an almighty cheer echoed around the dome. My little man was clapping & waving from the start, and it only got better.
Through a mixture of fantastic costumed actors and frankly superb puppeteers, the story unfolded, and each character in turn took to the stage and raised their own cheers and laughter - as delighted children and adults alike sang along with the songs - complete with actions in many cases.

Dylan's highlight was certainly the 'real life' Pakka Pakka - as he came waddling down with his Og Pog, my little boy's face simply lit up. He was mesmerised. So much so that it very nearly brought a tear to my eye. Yes, I'm a big sap, I know.  But that's the magic of The Night Garden for you!

In all, the show is just under an hour - long enough to feel like you're getting your money's worth, but short enough to keep all the small people in attendance entertained and engaged throughout.
It's also a great way of introducing small children to live theatre, as it's very informal, noisy and lively.

We had a fabulous time - Dylan loved every minute, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend In the Night Garden to others.

You've got 8 days left to see the show in London (but tickets are selling fast!) - then Iggle Piggle and his chums are off to Glasgow, and then Birmingham - check out the website for more details of dates & how to buy tickets.


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  2. We loved it too - sorry not to have seen you there. Agga pang, etc!


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