It’s safe to say that my three are past the point of being all that bothered about In the Night Garden, in fact it was never really a programme that caught on in our house at all despite being avid CBeebies fans. However, we all know that the familiar plinky plonky music of In the Night Garden signifies bedtime for many a toddler and my friend’s son is no different. When I was offered the chance to review In the Night Garden Live at the Trafford Centre this summer, rather than pass it up I asked my friend to go in my place and review the show for you.
Here’s what they thought:
It was early on Saturday morning when Large Fry woke up and what echoed down the monitor was ‘me see Makka Pakka now?‘ We’d only told him a couple of days ago but he was very excited to be seeing the real Makka Pakka & Upsy Daisy. So we set off on our journey to Manchester to meet up with his cousin & Auntie to see the In The Night Garden Live show.
As soon as we arrived he spotted the posters and shouted at the top of his voice the names of the different characters. He was super excited and when we met up with his cousin they ran together hand in hand to the entrance. He also asked lots of questions about the arena & if it would burst if he bit it!
We were greeted by some enthusiastic members of staff who engaged with Large Fry & contained his excitement whilst in the foyer & in the short, well organised queue.
Once inside the inflatable arena, before the show starts, they have a Pinky Ponk projected onto the wall which rotates around the room. From the minute the two children saw this they were pointing at it shouting LOUDLY ‘it’s the Pinky Ponk!’ ‘Where the Pinky Ponk go?‘ Their eyes never left the ceiling as they were racing each other to spot where it would come from next. Tracking it across the arena & looking at the stage kept them occupied for a while but just before the show started we were beginning to get a little overexcited to say the least!
There are two In the Night Garden Live shows to choose from this summer – each lasts just under an hour. All the characters feature in both stories and they are completely unrelated tales so I would suggest it’s more a case of picking a convenient time than particularly needing to choose which show you see. As it was, we saw the Ninky Nonk show, this is a show in which you see Iggle Piggle having an adventure with Upsy Daisy and losing his blanket.
In The Night Garden Live combines a clever mix of puppetry and full costumes. The puppeteers are all dressed in green so as to camouflage with the background and they also move around the stage props and scenery. Every time a new character came on Large Fry would shout ‘me hug [insert random ITNG characters name]‘. This was a huge surprise & I dare say if we had opted for the character meet and greet after he would have gone shy and refused to look at the characters when up close anyway. This is something you can book up when buying your tickets.
I have never seen Large Fry so animated & focused on anything like this EVER! He was up on his feet dancing and singing along to the familiar songs.
ITNG Live is a 45 minute show, perfect for the children it is aimed at, Large Fry at 2 1/2 got a little restless towards the end but I think he was almost overstimulated by it all & too excited. Even at 6 months his brother Small Fry is transfixed by Iggle Piggle and the whole of the ITNG crew on the tv but I wouldn’t run to a ticket for him for a year or two at least.
I would definitely recommend the show to anyone who has an enthusiastic ITNG fan or two in the family – I don’t think there was a child under the dome on Saturday who wasn’t excited, dancing or having a whale of a time. It was magical to watch the looks on their faces & their awe and wonderment throughout.
In the Night Garden Live is running through till the end of August at the Trafford Centre and tickets are still available. At £14.50 for a standard ticket (with adults & children paying the same price), this could be an expensive hour of entertainment but if you’ve got a real In the Night Garden fan in your household the look on their face might well be worth the spend!
*We were invited to see In the Night Garden Live free of charge for the purposes of review – all thoughts and opinions remain our own*