Reviewed by Louise Totton
Being massive Peppa Pig fans, my two daughters (aged 2 and 4) were very much looking forward to seeing their hero live. Having been subjected to Peppa Pig on the TV, almost every day for the past two years, I was somewhat less enthusiastic than they were, but was still very much looking forward to the kids enjoying the show.
We arrived in Halifax with plenty of time to spare, and were very lucky to find on-street parking around a hundred yards from the theatre. This was very reasonable at £2 for two hours, and I know there is a large multi-story as well as other car parks a short distance away.
When we arrived at the theatre, around half an hour before the performance, we were very surprised at how busy it was. Unfortunately, the stand selling merchandise had been set up just inside the entrance, and it created a serious bottleneck / traffic jam, very difficult with two such small children to keep hold of them both and I really thought this should have been considered when placing the stands.
We made our way into the auditorium with 20 minutes to spare, and were pointed in the general direction of our seats but not shown to them. We thought the seat numbering was a little confusing, but assumed we had located our seats because the other possibility was already occupied. Then, around 3-4 minutes before the show started, it became apparent that around six rows were all sitting a row further back than they should have been. This resulted in total chaos, and five rows of people having to try to move further forward, in the dark with young children. In the midst of all this, the show started, with still a good number of people unseated and confused. The staff member did apologise, and admitted that it had happened before, and that the seat numbering was quite poor.
Having said that, from the moment the show began, the children were entranced. The show was made up of a number of large puppets, all very true to the cartoon styling, moving around the stage, singing and dancing. The basic premise of the show is that the school roof has sprung a leak, and Peppa and her pals decide to organise a fete and puddle jumping contest in order to raise money to fix the roof.
The show was interactive; all of the young audience seemed enthralled by both the storyline and the visual / audio spectacle of the show. It was bright and cartoon like to look at, and the show was interactive, the characters inviting the children to dance, stomp and sing throughout the show, the most enthusiastic participation reserved for singing along to The Bing Bong Song.
The show was in two half hour segments, separated by a 20 minute interval which was probably about right for the age of the audience. My four year old managed the whole show really well (she sees lots of shows at the theatre), although the two year old was getting agitated towards the end, this was probably more to do with the time of the show (4pm) than a reflection on the show itself.
The show itself was fantastic, I think all of the children and lots of the parents in the audience had a really super time. I did feel that the somewhat overzealous and overpriced merchandise put a bit of a damper on it for us – the stall was right there as soon as we arrived, and as we left the theatre, also in the foyer were huge bunches of helium balloons being sold. Not an issue in itself, but we had to walk through them to leave, and there were lots of crying children because parents just weren’t willing to pay the overinflated prices. For mine, and many of the other kids there, we just felt it left a negative feeling at the end of a lovely show.
The theatre and auditorium itself were really comfortable and clean; we had lots of space in our seats and I think all of the seats would have had a super view of the stage. It was a shame about the chaos in seating people, this could so easily be solved by either showing people to their seats or making the numbering clearer.
Would I recommend the show to friends? Yes I would, but would warn them about the price of the merchandise and just how aggressively it’s marketed. And I will certainly visit the Victoria Theatre again, other than the confusion, we liked it a lot.
Peppa Pig’s Big Splash is currently touring the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.peppapiglive.com.
Victoria Theatre, Fountain Street, Halifax, HX1 1BP | Box Office: 01422 351158