Anna Brosnan reviews Teletubbies Live - Big Hugs at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton
Some 20 years ago I was living with an extremely intelligent theology student who, as well as being an expert in ancient Hebrew and the Dead Sea Scrolls, was also an obsessive Teletubbies fan.
At 21-years-old, neither of us was the target age of the original Teletubbies show, but back then it was the beginning of a massive, multi-coloured craze in which everything seemed to be about the magical world of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po.
That was the Christmas in which Santa Claus had to shop very early in the year to secure a toy version of one of these roly-poly alien TV babies - what are the teletubbies anyway? - for all the boys and girls who wanted one.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I'm now a mum of two pre-school girls, one of whom ( four-year-old Eloise) I took to see Teletubbies Live at Northampton's Royal and Derngate on Saturday.
The particular show I attended had a fair few empty seats and I'm not sure whether this was due to its proximity to lunchtime or if it is quite a hard show to pitch. I also have a one-year-old daughter, Grace, who I chose not to take along due to the fact it is show of more than an hour long in a traditional theatre setting.
I couldn't imagine Grace sitting through more than 15 minutes without wanting to crawl onto the floor. But, there were braver parents I spotted sitting with young babies and seemingly making it work, although some children did get restless during the performance.
The show is well arranged into short segments, possibly to suit the attention span of its young audience. So for example, segments include a short song and dance which is taught to the audience, a passage in which two puppet rabbits are danced around the stage and a section where the Teletubbies try to find Noo-noo (who is extremely easy to find - the Teletubbies are obviously rubbish at hide and seek).
I'm not sure if it was the segmented nature of the entertainment or if it is because I am much older than the intended audience, but I felt at times there was a lack of momentum carrying the show along. I'm not sure if this could have been helped with a bit more of a storyline other than simply exploring Teletubbyland.
Nevertheless, there were some well executed sketches. The scene in which the Teletubby toaster started shooting toast in all directions left my daughter and other young audience members roaring with laughter. A little bit more of this zany humour would have been really welcomed.
A scene with the Teletubbies struggling to get around to answering a giant telephone because they were so busy dancing and saying 'eh-oh' to each other also caused me to giggle.
The show is brightly coloured, full of dance and song and, more importantly, Teletubby action from the main four, much-loved characters. Without a doubt it will appeal to little ones who are fans of watching the programme at home.