Music: Mani Svavarsson
Lyrics: Matt Lewis
Writer/Director: Richard Lewis
Taking a toddler to the theatre for the first time might feel daunting, will they sit still, will they fall asleep, will they scream ‘No Not this!’ But you needn’t worry in the safe hands (trotters) of Peppa Pig and friends. Even from stepping into the theatre’s foyer and into a sea of balloons, flashing lights, and dinosaur toys it is clear that there is a fun-packed afternoon and tantrum-free performance ahead.
Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever is perfect in length and content for any little one, with a good balance of the familiarity of characters, traditional nursery rhymes such as ‘The Grand Old Duke of York,’ tunes from the TV show mixed in with new catchy action songs from Svaarasson and Lewis. And although there may be reservations when introduced to the new character and human ‘Daisy,’ (Woah she isn’t in Peppa Pig!) Lizzie Burder’s energy, connection with her young audience, and children’s presenter-styled performance is just what the show needs to carry the narrative and get the animals out of some tricky situations such as putting on their own hats!
The story takes you on a journey of a typical family day out with the family, planning your day, being in the car and visiting landmarks along the way. It highlights how the imagination (and a catchy toddler-friendly song) can make even traffic jams bearable if not fun, which can be taken forward as a parenting tip too I’m sure! And ends with an exciting encounter with a very large and most impressive dragon puppet.
The design by Scullion is pleasing to a young audience to see the familiarity from the TV show and although could appear low tech if featured in other productions really did capture the 2D cartoon feel of the TV show. The ‘special effects’ such as UV lights and ribbons does not create a ‘Wow factor’ for those who are keen theatre goers, makers and critics, to the room of 0-4-year-olds is pure magic – and that’s what it was all about.
The somewhat bulky costumes and puppets used for the characters themselves are well managed by the multi rolling cast (, Alice de Warrenne , Melanie Ann, Iona Crampton, Ben Wilton , Brooke Aylen, Chris Laws) and show a good likeness to the cartoon, with the audience delighting when they witness a new familiar face such as multi-talented Miss Rabbit – she is a busy lady!
As well as fun for the toddlers and bouncing babies on parents’ laps, there is also many sections to engage the older children with questions, actions, and call and responses – making sure the adults are still focused too!
Overall Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever is an uplifting show and perfect for under 5s to be introduced to the theatre. And top tip, although the spinning light-up Peppa or George wand my seem a bit pricey for what it is, is well worth the money for the delight during and after the production to keep the magic of the ‘sweetest show ever.’
Runs until November 2022 on a UK Tour