Last weekend, we took Nia (20 months) and Saria (3.5 years) to see Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play, a clever mix of some of their most popular tales weaved into a 70 minute puppet show (includes interval). Featuring some of their most popular tales including whether Lola will tidy her room, the time she busted up Charlie’s rocket, and whether she will finally go to sleep, the audience both young and old was enthralled!
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and it’s basically large puppets skilfully controlled by performers on the stage. While I did hear a couple of parents commenting that they found it weird and a little distracting to be able to visibly see the people and their expressions, it certainly didn’t take anything away for the kids who were totally focused on the main attraction – the delightful brother and sister duo and the magic of their stories. What I absolutely loved (yes the boyf and I thoroughly enjoyed it) was the fact that their facial expressions changed with their eyes moving to whatever they were looking at and their mouths going from smiles, to shock, to upset etc. The whole production and set embodied Lauren Child’s famous aesthetic, from the denim aprons on the performers, to the bedroom and toys looking just like they do on the show – fantastic attention to detail.
Parts of the show are cleverly magical and interactive causing absolute shrieks of delight and the kids leaping out of their seats, although I won’t say why or it will ruin the surprise. As a theatre experience for young children, this is exactly the type of production you want to take your children to.
Aimed at 3-7’s, younger children (and there were quite a few) thoroughly enjoyed it. Nia was gobsmacked for the first ten minutes at what she was witnessing on the stage and cried at the interval and at the end. She did get a bit fidgety for the last ten minutes, but certainly over three’s will easily sit through the performance.
What we also loved was that Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play doesn’t try to rob parents. Tickets are Â£11, under 2’s can sit in your lap so they go free, drinks were very reasonable at the bar, and the books, accessories etc were the same price you’d pay in another shop, not overpriced. As a comparison, we were invited by friends to a ‘on ice’ production…and it would have cost Â£120 for a family of four. Jaysus! Daylight bleedin’ robbery! Anyway!
An enchanting, wonderfully funny theatre experience for little one’s, Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play is a must see.
Dates: Now till Jan 2nd 2011 in London. It will be in Liverpool 12-15th February, Exeter 19-20 February and other cities throughout the UK during 2011. Check out the Watershed Productions site to book tickets.
Where: The Pleasance Theatre, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London, N7 9EF (watch out for the very pushchair unfriendly stairs to get up to the theatre)
Tube: 5 mins from Caledonian Road tube station (Piccadilly line – 1 stop from Kings Cross)