Review: In the Night Garden Live

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The Tombliboos on stage at the O2 The Tombliboos on stage at the O2

If it’s suspense and surprise you’re after, In the Night Garden is not for you.

But there's no denying its format is a massive winner with its young audience, who are reassured by the repetition running through each and every one of the 100 or so episodes.

If you are not familiar with Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends, each episode of the hit CBeebies show follows a very similar pattern, chronicling the daily lives of its main characters with simplistic stories.

If you are, In the Night Garden Live is an absolute must for you and your little ones.

Our trip to the O2 on Saturday for the show was the first time our 19-month-old daughter had encountered in real life something which she previously thought only existed inside her television set or within the hardback pages of her tiny, treasured bed-time books. And how delighted she was.

The characters are all brought beautifully to life on stage using full-size costumes, magical puppets, enchanting music and breathtaking projections.

The storyline of the Pinky Ponk Show - one of two shows available - is very similar to those of In the Night Garden’s TV episodes.

Makka Pakka washes his friends’ faces, then loses his sponge, Upsy Daisy finds it and, well, that’s about it - I hope I haven’t spoilt it for you.

The show takes place in its own all-weather, purpose-built inflatable showdome within the O2 arena.

The structure’s informal layout is a huge hit with children and parents and its immersive theatrical experience makes audiences feel they are actually entering the magical world of the TV show.

Andrew Collier, creative director of Minor Entertainment, said: “Parents tell us that children as young as a few months old engage with the live show, and the looks on the faces of the children and parents in the audiences are absolutely amazing.

“It's a huge responsibility and enormous privilege to give so many children their first experience of live theatre.”

And an enormous privilege it was to see how pleased it made our little girl and all the other youngsters there.

In the Night Garden Live is touring the UK this summer, at the O2, Richmond Park, and in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

Tickets are priced from £12.50 to £33.

For more details and to book visit www.NightGardenLive.com or call 0333 300 0023

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