Tuesday, 1 February 2011
Thomas the Tank Engine Live Show - a theatre review!
It's never too early to take your kids to the theatre! I know it is not exactly Shakespearean tragedy, but taking a toddler to see a live show of their favourite characters is a great experience for them. It introduces them to the world of live performance, and shows that there is more to entertainment than the TV.
We were very lucky to win a family ticket to see The Thomas the Tank Engine, a circus comes to town live show at the Hammersmith Apollo from Mirka at All Baby Advice. Going to London is an adventure in itself for Ruby and her cousin and by the time we arrived and took our seats they were literally trembling with excitement!
The show's storyline is a tale of friendship and co-operation, as all the engines have to work together to ensure that the visiting circus to the Island of Sodor get to perform. There's lots of singing and dancing which Ruby joined in with enthusiastically, clapping along. I thought the audience interaction was great - a bit pantomime, but very engaging for the kids.
The sets and scenery were lovely, and I was pleased that the engines were 'realistic' (well, as realistic as a fictional talking train can get!). Rather than being rubbishy cardboard cut-out efforts, the trains were just like scaled up versions of Ruby's toys, and the animated eyes and mouth brought them to life. My one criticism would be that some of the scenery backdrops weren't quite tall enough, and it was distracting for the kids to be able to see the engines behind manoeuvring into position.
The train cast was great, featuring all Ruby's favourite engines - there was even a few brief appearances by Harold the Helicopter. The circus performers brought humour to the show, and I think most of the girls in the audience loved the dancing acrobat with her sparkly red tutu and twirling ribbon.
The performance was 90 minutes, but with an interval half way through, I think this was about the right length of time for toddlers.
The show is currently touring the country, and you can check dates and venues here. It is visiting down our way again in March and I think we'll probably book to see it again.
Obviously each venue is different, but from my visit to the Apollo, here are some tips! If you can manage without a buggy, then leave it at home. The buggy park at the Apollo was upstairs, and the sheer chaos of hundreds of parents trying to lug pushchairs upstairs was a nightmare. There was also a small charge for the buggy park, which was basically compulsory as you weren't allowed to take them into the auditorium. Arrive as early as you can, again the queue for ticket collections was quite hellish, as was parking. Finally, make sure you have cash to buy any souvenirs - or preferably blinkers for the kids so you don't have to! The programmes were £5 each, and although they were full of activities, after spending £10 on programmes, we didn't feel inclined to buy any of the other posters; helium balloons and glow stick things that were on offer.
All in all, a fabby day, I'd certainly recommend you see it if your kids are into Thomas.