The girls were bouncing up and down with excitement from the moment they spotted the giant inflatable showdome with the pictures of Upsy Daisy and Iggle piggle outside. Jessica had been talking about it for weeks ever since Daddy made the mistake of telling her that we were going to see In the Night Garden Live again – ah the joys of “is it today, Mummy? We go see In the Night Garden today?” when there were still many more sleeps to go! Despite it being the third year in a row for Jessica and the second time for Sophie, it was still just as magical as ever. Here are all the things that we love about going to see In the Night Garden Live:
Before the show:
- The excitement on the girls’ faces when they spot the inflatable showdome – particularly from Jessica who recognised it from our previous trips.
- Lots of space for buggy parking.
- Excellent toilet facilities – plenty of changing stations for baby changing and each cubicle in the ladies toilets having a child toilet seat and a step in each cubicle plus more steps next to the sink. Not sure if this is also the case in the men’s toilets too – obviously I didn’t check these out!
- The goody bag (£60 worth of merchandise for £29 when ordered in advance) – very good value for money and our favourites from this year’s goody bag were the light-up windmill and the mealtime set.
- The free souvenir programme included in the ticket price with two stories, the words to the characters’ songs and a couple of puzzles to do, as well as photos from the show – Sophie in particular loved looking through this.
- Having premium seats right in front of the stage with a great close-up view. The long circular bench-like seating means there is plenty of space for the girls to move about, fidget and dance along. We booked early and paid £20 for each premium seat ticket.
- Watching the projected Pinky Ponk travelling across the inside of the dome – Sophie was quite entranced by this when she spotted it.
The show itself:
- Staying completely true to the TV programme with the instantly recognisable opening sequence (and Igglepiggle travelling across the stage in his boat), a storyline that combines a couple of the TV episodes and the characters having a story and going to sleep at the end of the show.
- Clever use of projection throughout – the opening flowers in the title sequence, the Tittifers between segments, the Pinky Ponk and Ninky Nonk going to sleep at the end of the show.
- The way each character’s song is repeated (except the Pontipines’ song) and audience participation is encouraged on the repeat.
- Changing sizes of characters – life-sized Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka in some sections and then smaller ones if a change of perspective was needed, e.g. Igglepiggle in his boat or going for a walk, or a smaller Makka Pakka when washing Igglepiggle or Upsy Daisy’s faces.
- The wonderful expression and animation on the puppeteers’ faces.
- The length of the show – a little longer than the TV programme but not too long that the children started getting bored.
- Being able to take photos (without flash) throughout and capture the joy and wonder on my children’s faces.
After the show:
- Having your name called out (in the order booked) when waiting for the meet a character which minimised having to queue. There was also an area where the children could sit and colour in some pictures while they were waiting.
- The meet a character tickets aren’t cheap at £15 each but it covers up to 5 people (maximum 3 children) and includes a souvenir photo in a storybook folder cover. The children had a couple of minutes to meet Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle – plenty of time for lots of cuddles whilst the show photographer took photos but it was also very easy to take a few of our own too.
- Extra prints cost £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three which seemed fairly reasonable.
- There is a stall selling plenty of In the Night Garden themed merchandise – soft toys, T-shirts, dress-up outfits etc. and balloons. Some of the items are exclusive to In the Night Garden Live – the mealtime set that we bought for the girls was one of these.
Although Jessica is starting to outgrow In the Night Garden now, this is still a magical experience for her and it is a wonderful way to introduce small children to live performances. Sophie too was quite captivated by it all and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone with little In the Night Garden fans. It’s quite good fun for bigger fans too – we went along with my friends Denise and Katy (who is my daughters’ godmother) and it was hard to say who was more excited about the whole thing – the girls or godmummy Katy!