FamilyNorth East & YorkshireReview

Hey Duggee The Live Theatre Show – St George’s Concert Hall, Bradford

Reviewer: Laura Stimpson

Director: Matthew Xia

Adapters: Matthew Xia and Vikki Stone

Straight out of London, Duggee, Betty, Norrie, Roly, Tag and Happy arrived in Bradford this week, much to the delight of their young fans and parents alike.

Anyone who’s been around young children in the last 10 years will be aware of BBC and Studio AKA’s Hey Duggee, based around Duggee (Benedict Hastings), a loveable brown dog who leads the Squirrel club, an activity club for children. The ‘Squirrels’ include Betty (Sarah Palmer), a chatty purple octopus, Norrie (Jane Crawshaw), a sweet brown mouse, Roly (Clarke Joseph-Edwards), an excitable grey hippo, Tag (Vinnie Monachello), a clumsy blue rhino and Happy (Kaidyn Niall Hinds), a playful green crocodile.

This first stage adaptation follows Duggee and the Squirrels as they learn to stage a theatre show, acquiring their trademark badges as they go. The children are given their own stickers on entering the theatre which they can earn alongside the squirrels throughout the show, a lovely touch and one that keeps the children excited throughout. Earning a new badge, signals a new section of the show.

From the outset the show is filled with pure joy, excitement and energy and this high energy continues throughout the duration of the performance. Yvonne Stone and Daisy Beattie have created the most beautiful, bright, life like versions of the TV characters in puppet form, and the puppeteers control their puppets with ease and expertise.

The young audience members regularly point and squeal with excitement throughout the performance. As the children and Squirrels acquire their egg, a capella, singing, space, choreography, costume and theatre badges, we are treated to wonderful music and dancing, which leads to much fun and laughter. The highlight of the show is the space badge scene, where the planets, in the form of large balloons, bounce around throughout the audience delighting all generations of the audience. Ciaran Cunningham’s lighting design is at its best in this scene, it’s a real sensory feast.

This is a true ensemble performance, the whole cast are a delight and shine throughout. A special mention for Benedict Hastings as Duggee, and the narrator for their effortless manipulation of the biggest puppet and their accurate imitation of the voice of Duggee when they first comes on stage, their vocal likeness to Alexander Armstrong is unbelievable.

This production is highly recommended. An energetic, interactive, sensory spectacular that is sure to be loved by all generations of the family.

Runs until 15th January 2023, before continuing on tour.

The Reviews Hub Score

Pure joy

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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