Writer: Helen Eastman
Reviewer: Laura Stimpson
Today the first ever Bing stage show arrives in Bradford to the delight of hundreds of preschoolers beaming from ear to ear in anticipation of seeing their favourite television characters on stage.
Bing joins his friends Sula, Pando and Coco, and guardians Flop and Amma on stage. Yes, the set is a stage on stage. A great idea to introduce this preschool audience to how theatre works on what will be for many, their first trip to the theatre.
The first half follows Bing and Sula as they play and explore the set, dress up and get help from Bing and Amma to create lighting, music and sounds effects that reflect the scenes they’re trying to create. There is, of course, audience interaction, we join in on some simple and easy to learn singing and make animal sounds. A personal favourite is when the audience joins in to make the sounds of the jungle.
The first half at 45 minutes seems a little too long, the children are getting very restless, talk and are definitely ready to join the toilet train for a break from the theatre.
However the second half is shorter and picks up the pace; Coco directs a ‘real’ show, the audience join in with dancing and clapping and are pleased to see show favourite Pando introduced to the stage. The end of Coco’s show coincides with the end of the actual show.
The Puppets are designed beautifully, move cleverly, and look identical to the characters from television.
The puppeteers do a fine job of portraying the characters as they appear on the popular CBeebies TV show, but as the TV show is only minutes long, they need to do more to keep the attention of this young audience for the duration of the show. The concept of using and exploring the theatre is excellent and there are some lovely ideas throughout, there is just something lacking in this performance, maybe due to it being the first of its kind and trying to find its feet.
It won’t fail delight little Bingsters desperate to see their favourite characters on stage, however, disappointingly it lacks the simplicity and energy to compete with preschool shows of its kind from similar popular TV shows.
Reviewed on 10th July 2018 | Image: Contributed