In the Night Garden has run on CBeebies since 2007 (can you believe it’s been that long?!) and since then has been phenomenally successful. Nobody who has had young children over the past 12 years will have been able to escape the wonder and joy it brings and the show has become an integral part of the evening routine in many households up and down the country. The loveable, colourful characters of Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka and Upsy Daisy are instantly recognisable, as are their friends the Tombliboos, the Pontypines and the more elusive Wottingers. We all know the songs and can join in with may of the narrator’s lines (the wonderful Derek Jacobi).
In the Night Garden…Live has been touring the UK every Summer since July 2010, and we were so pleased to be invited to our favourite theatre, The Regent Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, to review it. In fact, my Little Miss was more than just pleased – she was crazily excited at the thought of seeing the “real” Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka and Upsy Daisy live on stage. And they didn’t disappoint – it was absolutely fabulous!
The stage show follows the format of the TV programme – it opens with a projection of a child in bed and then we see a puppet Iggle Piggle on his boat, sailing away to The Night Garden. This was absolutely beautiful and the gasps from the audience were fabulous. We then meet the lifesize Iggle Piggle and the story takes us on a journey through The Night Garden as Iggle Piggle follows different sounds to find his friends. The excitement of the children (and adults!) as each new character entered the stage was truly magical and my Little Miss squeezed me with delight each time!
As well as the lifesize versions of the 3 main characters, they also had smaller puppet counterparts, each controlled by some highly-skilled and very expressive puppeteers. These puppeteers also moved various parts of the set and brought the Tombliboos and the Pontipine family to life with some really masterful puppetry.
The set was really stunning. No expense had been spared and it really did feel like we were in the familiar surroundings of The Night Garden that we all know and love. The Tittifers and the Trubliphones were projected onto small screens in the top corners of the proscenium arch and even the Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk made appearances! My favourite part of the show was when the Pinky Ponk flew out across the audience which had us all gasping with delight!
The instantly recognisable music was as delightful as ever and the sound effects and narration made it feel as if you had stepped inside your television into an episode of the show. The whole experience was absolutely magical. As Derek Jacobi would say, “What a pip!”
We can definitely recommend In The Night Garden…Live to anyone with young children. Although it’s finished at The Regent Theatre now it’s touring up and down the country – you can find out more here.
The Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall have lots more family-friendly shows planned for the coming months which we are really looking forward to:
- Madagascar, Starts Wed 25 Sep
- The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Tue 15 Oct (Victoria Hall)
- Sing-a-long-a The Greatest Showman, Sun 20 Oct
- Tom Gates, Starts Wed 30 Oct
- Annie, Starts Mon 18 Nov
- Sleeping Beauty (panto), Fri 13 Dec
You can find out more here.
Disclosure: We were gifted 2 tickets for “In The Night Garden…Live”in exchange for this review.
N.B. All photos in this review are courtesy of “The Regent Theatre/In The Night Garden…Live.”