Review - Peppa's Big Adventure at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Peppa Pig's Adventure

"Peppa will find you in the end," I remember a friend telling me when I smugly boasted my little girl had yet to fall under the superstar pig's magical spell.

At that point, about two years ago, I had never watched an episode of Peppa Pig and neither had my daughter, Eloise. Nowadays, it is pretty much running on a loop on Netflix in our house; we are both big fans.

And on Saturday afternoon, Eloise and I grabbed the chance to see Peppa and her friends live on stage at Northampton's Royal & Derngate.

One of the enduring appeals of Peppa Pig stories is, like all good pieces of children's fiction, the tales are written for a young audience but there is always a subtle nod to the adult in the room.

Fans of Peppa will recognise this 'nod to the adult' as the presence of Daddy Pig who tends to have many recognisable, real life flaws - his tussles with DIY and reluctance to mow the lawn, for example.

I was pleased to see this show include a few typical Daddy Pig moments, notably falling asleep for too long and too loudly (he's a terrible snorer). One minor criticism is a greater quantity of funny Daddy and Mummy Pig moments would have been welcomed.

My four-year-old was very happy with the show's content, which was varied and lively enough to hold the attention of a young audience. It has to be remembered that one hour and 20 mins (including interval) is quite a long time for a toddler to remain entertained.

The storyline of Peppa Pig's Adventure is very simple, based around a music lesson with Madame Gazelle and a camping adventure, complete with tents, bonfire and...muddy puddles.

There are a number of real people on stage, dressed in black and working the character puppets, but the central character of Daisy (played by Bronte Tadman) leads the action.

Most sleep-deprived parents of babies and toddlers will admire Daisy for her seemingly endless source of energy and jollity. Bronte does a fine job in effectively instructing a theatre full of small children to participate in a series of catchy songs and actions.

Just like the cartoon, the show is full of humour and song, played against a bold, bright set. Its staging also features brilliant, inventive light effects.

There is plenty in the production to leave youngsters giggling and dancing along, as well as a couple of surprises (I won't give the game away, but let's just say watch out when muddy puddles are mentioned!)

For those parents unfamiliar with Peppa Pig, I would like to advise them that Peppa will find them in the end, and they could do worse than finding her first at the live show currently touring theatres. It's bright, charming and entertaining; definitely worth a visit.

See www.peppapiglive.com for more tour dates.

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