I have a love/hate relationship with Peppa Pig.
On the one hand, my kids love it. The youngest prods me with the remote control most mornings demanding ‘Peppaaa’. And it’s one of the few shows that she and The Boy – at 1-and-a-half and three-and-a-bit – are equally happy to watch, so it keeps them both busy for a while.
On the other hand, it just so happens to be the only children’s show I know that lasts all of what – five minutes? Five. Minutes. Just enough time to run up the stairs, start rifling through the laundry basket, empty it all out onto the floor and – Muuuuuuum! PEPPA’S FINISHED!
Just enough time to call the doctor’s to make that appointment I’ve been meaning to make for three months, get through to the receptionist, get the calendar out, find a pen and – Muuuum! Pe-ppa’s fi-NISHED!
So yes. Like I said – I have a love/hate relationship with Peppa Pig for giving me five minutes of peace and quiet, and giving me five minutes of peace and quiet.
The idea of a live theatre version of the TV show appealed for more than just the simple fact it lasts a whopping 1 hour 15 minutes, you understand. There’s also the whole theatre experience – I spent five years of my life pre-kids reviewing dance and theatre shows, so I miss the buzz of live performance, and I’d love them to grow up with an appreciation for it.
I think it’s this whimsical idea that made me temporarily forget the fact the youngest is only 17 months old, cannot sit still, and isn’t yet able to be bribed. Which is how we ended up at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in amongst a sea of excitable preschoolers and their parents on Saturday afternoon, waiting for Peppa Pig’s Surprise! (Their apostrophe – not mine).
Things were looking good once the curtain came up – a super-squeaky girl with blonde pigtails narrated the action and, soon enough, Peppa and co were on stage. My kids were glued. The littlest refused to sit down but happily stood on my lap, as the giant puppets played hide-and-seek, blew huge bubbles and sang some everybody-join-in songs.
After about ten minutes (which is actually a record) she lost interest and I had to let her eat a whole packet of crisps just to give the family behind me a break. By the time the interval came around I’d both run out of snacks and lost the will to live, so the husband took her for a ‘nice walk’ while I sat and watched the second half with the biggest one.
He absolutely loved it. Peppa and co went to the seaside for the day – that’s the surprise in the name, in case you were wondering – buried Daddy Pig in the sand, went rock-pooling (a sweet little underwater UV-light section that was by far the best bit), sang lots more squeaky songs and did everything you’d expect from about 58 episodes of the TV show in one hit. The set was simple, the script even more so, and it worked perfectly. Think panto, but with pigs.
By the end he was dancing in the aisle with such a
manic happy look on his face, I almost forgot about the £8 price tag of the spinner in his (and every other kid’s) hand, and the fact we lost him briefly in the foyer before the show when he went off ‘to buy one from the lady because you weren’t listening to me mummy’.
Peppa Pig Live is at UK theatres until the end of 2016. Take a look at the official site for tour dates and tickets.