Yesterday I took the children to Bristol Hippodrome to see Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Live. Having seen several children’s TV programs taken to the live stage I think this was my favourite such adaptation. It remained very true to the original show, which is good because small children enjoy repetition and the familiar.
The costumes, and masks were brilliant, and made the characters look very much like the animated characters. My little girl, aged four, whispered to me “are they real Mummy?” The whole show is styled perfectly, with sets and props also looking very much like those in the animated magic kingdom. I particularly liked the wings on the fairies backs, which flapped on their own.
The story revolves around Lucy, the girl from the big world, Nanny Plum, and of course Ben and Holly. It’s just the right length, around an hour and a half including an interval, for little ones. There are lots of laughs for the children, with burping frogs, and Nanny Plum’s magical mistakes. I would say they have pitched this just right for their target audience of two to five year olds.
What really brings the animated world to the real stage so succesfully are the actors. They are all strong physical actors who perform the show, with some lovely song and dance routines, brilliantly. I must also give a mention to Gaston the ladybird, he was a brilliant touch. Wheeled around so smoothly by the actors that even my eight year old was wondering ‘how he moved on his own’. He has moving eyes and wiggling legs and was really the star of the show.
Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom live stage show is a well rehearsed, faithful stage show of the original animated children’s TV series. I would definitely recommend it as an afternoon out for those with small children.
*Disclaimer: I was given tickets to this show for the purposes of this review. I am always honest.