How do you keep a theatre full of toddlers entertained for an entire hour? Singing, dancing, storytelling and stickers is the answer!
York Theatre Royal is exploding with fun as the much-loved cartoon characters from the popular Hey Duggee are brought to life on their stage this week.
Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show is at York Theatre Royal from Thursday 29 June to Sunday 2 July.
At every turn, the theatre was filled with excited young children, some of whom were attending their first ever production, dressed in their Hey Duggee merchandise and wriggling with excitement.
And they were not to be disappointed as the interactive show exceeded all expectations as it brought buckets of fun to the stage.
Touring around the country until August, Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show was presented as a series of mini-episodes in which we watched canine scout leader Duggee and the Squirrels build a performance of their own, learning skills and earning badges along the way.
As we arrived we too were given our own set of badges in the form of stickers and given the opportunity to earn them throughout the show – a creative concept that secured the involvement of the entire audience.
The cast were exceptional puppeteers and their voice work was superb, bringing the much-loved characters to life so brilliantly. Our Squirrels; Sarah Palmer (Betty), Charlie Daniells (Happy), Jane Crawshaw (Norrie), Vinnie Monachello, (Tag) and Clarke Joseph-Edwards (Roly) were overflowing with infectious energy and excitement.
Benedict Hastings took on the title role of Duggee and the Narrator, and from the moment he and his ukulele first leapt onto the stage and spoke those familiar words ‘isn’t it time for…’, you knew you were in for a top tier performance.
Completing the cast was the master of multi-roling Lunga Anele-Skosana who took on a multitude of characters throughout: Chew Chew, Mrs Weaver and Chipo to name a few. She led many of the sing-and-dance-a-long segments of the show with abounding vivacity – and I don’t envy her many costume changes during the recent heat wave.
It is clear the creative team have excelled themselves in terms of design and story. The puppets themselves, designed by Yvonne Stone, accurately portrayed the on-screen characters and I loved the actors’ costumes, (Jackie Trousdale) designed to compliment these puppets perfectly. The stage, also designed by Trousdale, brought the familiar animation to life, with bright colours and interchangeable scenery transporting us through each scene at a time.
I was lucky enough to take my three year old nephew who is a long-term Duggee fan; he was entranced from start to finish, although it may be a while before the legendary Stick song leaves both his and my brain – a true highlight within the show.
All parents/guardians will know there is a feeling of dread going to any children’s performance, hopeful that it won’t be your child who gets upset or needs to leave. But there was no sign of this – just an audience full of excited babies, toddlers and children, who were bobbing in their seats and giggling at the comedy throughout.
I don’t believe you need to be a fan of the TV programme to attend and enjoy this show – an hour of high-quality entertainment can be priceless for the parent/guardian of a toddler, and I would encourage anyone interested to book in for this captivating show. I guarantee, with proof from my nephew, they will soon be begging to return.
Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show is at York Theatre Royal until Sunday 2 July. Tickets start from £15 and are available here.
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