Reviewer: Laura Stimpson
Since 1997 the Teletubbies have been delighting pre-schoolers on television screens across the world, so it’s quite unbelievable that it’s taken 20 years to produce their first live show. Dubbed as ‘my first theatre show’ the theatre was indeed packed with children visiting the theatre for the very first time, from babes in arms to pre-schoolers.
The audience arrives to a bright, simple, open set with a projection screen at the back of the stage. An energetic Sam (Naomi Slater) opens the show with a short engaging quiz, finding out how much the audience really knows about the Teletubbies. Soon after, providing much excitement, the audience is introduced the Teletubbies themselves; Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa and Po.
The Teletubbies go on to take Sam and the audience on a journey of discovery around Teletubby Land with the help of three other cast members; Rebecca Ayres, Liam Farrow and Michael Ruben, they are listed as facilitators, but in reality they do much more than this, they are dancers, singers, puppeteers and storytellers.
During the tour of Teletubby Land, the audience is introduced to a dancing flower, a bear, the tubby phone and Noo Noo. There is a fantastic scene where the Teletubbies make breakfast and pieces of tubby toast cleverly fly around the stage. Audience participation is encouraged throughout and at every opportunity Sam teaches the audience simple actions to join in with the action on stage. The children are delighted by the puppet scenes where rabbits bounce around the hill and the children get to help count sheep and cloud sheep.
The highlight scene is in the second half when Tinky Winky’s tummy tale is a school choir which is projected on the screen at the back of the stage. Sam tries to get the audience to join in with the song and is then joined on stage by the teacher from the video. The teacher then interacts with the children on the screen and those in the audience.
In keeping with the television show, the performance ends with the Teletubbies saying goodbye and the sun setting. It’s clear that the show has been thoroughly appreciated by the youngsters as, as soon as there’s a hint that the show might be over we hear screams, “no’s” and general disappointment. Of course, the Teletubbies return once again for an encore of their chart-topping signature song Teletubbies say eh oh! Complete with a medley of the action songs that have been taught to the audience throughout the show. A lovely, engaging end to the perfect first theatre experience for so many youngsters.
The show is the perfect length to keep children of this age captivated, two 30 minute halves, with a 15-minute interval whilst the Teletubbies have a nap seems to work well for the little ones.
Teletubbies Live was well worth the wait, for the Teletubbies to have been on television for such a long time they’ve clearly got the recipe right for a successful television show, and this Live performance proves that they’ve achieved it once again. A bright, energetic, engaging show, full of music, hugs, fun and audience participation.
Reviewed on 27 March 2018 | Image: Contributed