Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday at The Lowry Manchester Review

18-23 February 2020

Reviewed by Ann Durrell

CBBC favourite and BAFTA award-winning CBeebies show Sarah & Duck is brought to life on stage in Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday. Featuring several of the shows best loved characters such including Umbrella, The Shallots and Ribbon Sisters, Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday has puppets, storytelling and music.

It is Scarf Lady’s birthday and Sarah & Duck want to help celebrate by holding a circus themed birthday party for her in the garden. Along the way they enlist the help of their friends, all of whom have a different talent they want to show off in the Big Top. The first half of the show see’s each of the characters displaying their talents or tricks, Flamingo turns out to be an excellent tight rope walker, The Ribbon Sisters dance with their ribbons but it is Duck whose dare devil cannon show who has the grand finale. The day of the party comes, and the wind nearly calls a halt to the proceedings. Umbrella and Duck are nearly lost and we take a trip to the zoo to find them. Eventually when everyone is back together the Birthday soiree is back on and we watch to see if all will go to plan.

The show has five human helpers to puppet the characters. Along with the full-size puppets there are smaller for Scarf Lady’s hot air balloon, Sarah’s house and even a bus ride. The puppets are voiced by back of house recordings as is the narration throughout.

I think of all of the show the part that my companion enjoyed the most was the fire work show and the moon. The moon is as you would think a rather large circular puppet with lights all along the edge. Moon has a funny little mouth which moves around and upside down which I am told was good. The faux firework show was a great deal gentler and more relaxing than the real thing with coloured lights and gentle bangs. Second favourite would be at the zoo with the penguins. Bubbles over the audience are always going to be a great hit with a younger audience! It’s a sure-fire hit!

The puppets and set are exactly like the cartoon has come to life, and it is all very calm and gentle throughout. No real shocks, it’s the same as the cartoons. My son will quite happily sit through shows that are longer than Sarah & Duck was, but I think an hour was plenty and better for the younger children in the audience.

It’s worth heading along to see Sarah and Duck, it’s a fantastic little show for younger children.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £12.50 (booking fees may apply).

Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday is at The Lowry in Manchester from 18-23 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000

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