Little Charley Bear and his Christmas Adventure
Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End
Wednesday 05 – Monday 24 December 2012
Reviewed by Sarah Waghorn
I am a Mum to 2 boys Samuel aged 3 and James aged 6. We have never been to a theatre show as my eldest little boy James has special needs as is usually unable to cope with the noise levels, amount of people within the environment or any type of person/character dressed up. It is always so very hard for Samuel to choose somewhere to go, as his choices are usually so far away from what my 6 year old can cope with. I found it frustrating that there are no reviews that give the details of how a family had found an event or show with a child with special needs so we simply didn’t risk going, but this has hindered my youngest child.
When the review for Little Charley bear came up, I jumped at the chance as my 3 year old adores the program on Cbeebies. With apprehension we booked the train tickets, planned our day out and prepared for our own adventure.
With the Ambassadors Theatre being in such a wonderful location within London, we got off the train at London Charing Cross to avoid the tube and walked through the busy streets of London. It was such a great little walk only taking 10-15 minutes which for us it is usually a nightmare as James is unaware of the dangers of the road. James and Samuel were in amazement at the lovely buildings, variety of transport it was so easy and most importantly did not stress both them at all.
When we arrived at the theatre, we got our tickets from the very friendly and calming staff members. We noticed a small area for buggies, to get to the room there are stairs which are a little narrow but manageable for children’s little legs. We were welcomed by a member of staff, we made way to our seats, we did note that there was little leg room for some of the adults however it was ok as the show was for an hour. Our seats were in the upper level circle, which was just perfect as we were not to close but just at the right place so James could hear. The audio levels were just perfect, so it was off to a great start!
On the stage was the toy box and toys from Charley bear, the actors came on and they were very good at getting the children comfortable and engaged from the start, the children were asked to shout “Are you there Charley bear?” Charley bear was introduced, who was a hand controlled puppet/teddy, held by the actor, the attention to detail was outstanding as Charley was very cleverly handled to make it appear he was climbing out of the box himself, of course the adults could see but the children believed he got out on his own.
We were impressed that the feeling of Charley being scared was discussed and it gave the reassurance James and other children needed without them knowing. The scene was set that Charley was going on a Christmas adventure, the children were distracted by closing their eyes and imagining Christmas related things while props were changed. Charley Bear then came back as a life sized bear to which the movements and characteristics of Charley was captured, not one child was scared! Which is a rare thing. There was great audience participation throughout with singing, dancing and lots of shouting out from the children which shows that the actors had such a good connection with the children. It was such a lovely story which discussed everything that was needed to create Christmas, showing everyone that anything was possible with a bit of imagination, the props all were amazingly done, one of the actors dressed up as Santa, usually both of my children are truly scared of Santa but it’s actually helped my children so much so that they found comfort in approaching another Santa on Southbank.
Overall we would highly recommend anyone throughout the UK to travel to see this show as it’s just perfect, and afterwards it’s lovely to take a trip around the sights of London.
We usually cannot ever think of going to a theatre, we had such fun. Our time there was very relaxed and calm for all of us, which anyone with children more so parents with children with special needs rarely experience.
We have recommended to friends, we will be back for more shows.
Suitable for children up to age 7.
Tickets cost from £5 – £15. Family Ticket £30 – £40.
For more information or to book tickets click here.
Ambassadors Theatre, West Street, London, WC2H 9ND