The trend of adapting children's TV shows for the stage continues with this touring season of Teletubbies Live, on for two days at New Theatre.
The pre-show party, courtesy of Partyman Soft Play, provided colourful balloons and face painting much to the delight of my one-year-old. Then it was onto the main show - anchored by an energetic all-singing, all-dancing presenter supported by two equally likeable cast members. A quiz warmed up the audience for the arrival of the Teletubbies, allowing parents such as myself who, despite having this programme on at least once a day at home, consistently fail to remember which one is which to learn their identities.
The Teletubbies engaged in a number of fun frolics: playing with bunnies, making magical phone calls, and, a particular highlight of the show, using the toaster to produce toast slices that jumped high into the air all around a bemused Dipsy. Audience participation was encouraged by the use of simply worded songs and dance actions to follow along. True to the format of the TV show, there was a scene involving real children singing a song via a pre-recorded video segment, allowing interaction with both the Teletubbies but also the audience members which worked well.
The staging was colourful and special effects were simple but quite effective, for example, use of a disco ball to provide small star-like lights. This was adequate, but in my experience of having attended lots of these shows (thanks to having two under 5-year-olds!), I would suggest that some further enhancements could be made to make this more ‘magical’ experience. It relied quite heavily upon a screen streaming a video to provide a background setting, whereas a few further special effects/more elaborate staging could have been more effective in parts.
This show is quite perfect for beginners to the theatre experience. The running time was perfect - an hour with an interval in-between. The lack of an precise storyline (unlike many of its counterparts) means it would probably suit younger children rather than pre-schoolers (3-4 year olds) who may prefer more structure. My toddler thoroughly enjoyed it and seemed quite disappointed when it ended! I would definitely recommend this for fans of the show.