1-2 August 2015
Reviewed by Jo Flaherty
If you know any children under the age of seven, it is almost impossible to imagine you don’t know Ben and Holly – an Elf and a Fairy who live with their cartoon cohorts in the Little Kingdom, a place where magic and mayhem meet and every day is an adventure.
Having seen other children’s television programmes brought to life on the stage, with varying degrees of success, I went along to the Manchester Opera House with a fairly open mind (I say fairly because, if I’m honest, I should admit to a love of Nanny Plum; with her sarcasm and downright irreverence she’s a perfect antidote to some of the more saccharine characters on TV).
I went along to the show with my three and seven year old, who were possibly as excited as I was. There was a good range of merchandise available in the foyer, enough to suit most budgets, and the programme was reasonably priced at £4, which compares well to many children’s magazines – there was plenty to keep my kids occupied while we waited for the show to begin.
The show begins with an introduction to Ben and Holly, and moves along at a jolly pace, really engaging well with the predominantly pre-school audience. The show comprises a number of storylines, most of which will be instantly recognizable to fans of the TV programme. The little fairy and elf are soon joined by the other well known characters, including King and Queen Thistle, Mr and Mrs Elf, the Wise Old Elf, Gaston, Nanny Plum and even Lucy! Of course, Holly’s magic goes slightly awry and it’s left for Nanny Plum to save the day in her own inimitable way. I’d like to put in a special word about the costumes; the characters’ costumes are well thought out, really allowing the characters to be brought to life without being overly ‘human’ – they have a true cartoon quality, which had the kids in the audience absolutely rapt. With songs to join in with, games and fun, the show really holds children’s attention.
If you’re thinking about going to see Ben and Holly Live, I would thoroughly recommend it. Fans of the television programme and newcomers to the characters alike will love this live stage show – my kids really loved Gaston, but Nanny Plum is still my favourite!
Tickets cost from £16.40 to £18.40 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom is at the Manchester Opera House until 2 August 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3018.
Opera House Manchester. 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP | 0844 871 3018