Having carefully wiped his pop-corny fingers on my skirt, my five year old grandson settled down to watch the show.
On the hottest day of the year, we had poured ourselves, with many other families into the Empire Theatre, Eden Court to watch the live show of CBeebies favourite, Hey Duggee.
This revolves around the antics of one large, glaikit kind of dog in neck-high trousers and a tie.
This is Duggee.
For reasons unexplained, he is the object of adoration for motley collection of animal-ish groupie characters, known as Squirrels.
The audience also becomes Duggee’s Squirrels for the duration.
It started off well.
A tall thin youth with a very small guitar appeared on stage at which said Grandson fell about with mirth, for reasons only known to him.
The rest of the show met with more mixed reactions.
The simple premise of the show was that Duggee and the Squirrels wanted to put on a show.
A number of challenges had to be overcome to accomplish this show within a show—music, costumes etc—and badges had to be earned by all Squirrels, including us, in the process.
All a vehicle for lots of singing, dancing and general capers, and I could see every single child was utterly enthralled, including tiny babies.
I don’t think we earned a single badge.
You know how theatre seats fold up and you need to sit on them to keep them open?
My grandson discovered that if he sat right back in the seat his weight was too slight to keep it open, so he folded himself up.
It was an uphill muttered struggle to get him to come out.
One of the best set pieces in the show is a space adventure, during which the backdrop and auditorium are transformed into star-twinkling outer space.
The solar system was explained with giant balloons, some of which floated out over the audience to much joy and excitement.
This made Grandson abruptly unfold himself and pay attention.
From then on, he was fascinated anytime the show lights appeared on the auditorium ceiling.
“Look Granny!” he shouts, pointing upwards while the rest of the audience sings and bounces along with the show.
I was impressed with the athleticism of the performers operating the puppets as they leapt about the stage, keeping the action moving.
They had great singing voices too.
And they deserve medals for doing the hour-long show three times a day, although the rapturous response of their young audience must fire them up and keep them going.
I realised the problem for Grandson was probably that he was slightly too old for the show, now being into Paw Patrol and Transformers.
Also, he’s not yet entered into the spirit of theatre.
He told me he didn’t like the panto Peter Pan as ‘there was a bad guy in it’.
He’s a work in progress.
Hey Duggee has now left the north and headed south to continue on tour.
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