21 August 2012, 3.30pm
Children never seem to tire of seeing their favourite TV characters come to life in front of them, so a live show packed with them is well over half way to being a huge success. Add to that, a lot of singing and dancing and you are on to a surefire childpleasing winner.
Therefore, while Milkshake Live is not a big, expensive and lavish production, it doesn’t have to be.
Directed and choreographed by one of the Channel 5 show’s favourite presenters, Derek Moran – it is a colourful and massively energetic, musical show which has a simple premise, as described in a nutshell by V when we got home and her dad asked what had happened – “They disappeared and then they came back,” she said excitedly!
In short, two more relentlessly happy and insanely bouncy presenters – in our case Jen (Pringle) and Amy (Thompson) – use a large remote control to get some favourite characters out of the TV, depicted by a large backdrop screen.
One by one, Noddy and Tessie Bear, Fifi and Bumble, the Little Princess and Scruff, Roary the Racing Car and Big Chris and the Bananas in Pyjamas end up on the stage to do a song and dance but end up stuck outside the telly.
Another presenter, Kemi, comes on the screen to present the news, informing the audience that some characters have gone missing and if they don’t get back into the TV, they won’t be on Milkshake tomorrow morning.
Cue the interval and several very concerned children!
Fifteen minutes later and Jen and Amy, still, to their credit, practically exploding with enthusiasm, ask the audience to help them find the characters and get them back into the TV. Half an hour later, after more singing and dancing from each character, accompanied by the audience shouting and pointing in a pantoesque style, they are all returned and the show is saved. Hurrah!
Add to this a mixture of new songs and old ones as diverse as Wheels on The Bus, These Boots Are Made for Walking and the Madness classic Driving in My Car (sung by Noddy and a personal show highlight!) and the show is perfectly pitched for pre and primary schoolers!
Energetic dancing and loads of audience interaction complete the mix. I was exhausted just by sitting there!
V seemed completely mesmerised by the whole thing and while many children were up on their feet jigging about and shouting instructions at the stage, she watched transfixed, amazed by seeing some of her favourite characters right in front of her eyes and taking it all in. It even kept her sat in her seat throughout – a small miracle in itself!
Then, when she got home she went through the whole thing in detail while dancing around the living room and was still talking about it in bed!
And on that note, I have to voice a pet peeve and say – it’s important to remember that your child will respond to live shows in their own way – don’t try and force upon them, your expectation of how they should react.
Which brings me to the woman sat in front of me. I was seconds from leaning forward and telling her that it doesn’t matter how much you dance about, point at your child in time to the music and try and lift their arms up and down rhythmically, if they don’t want to dance they WON’T! It was pleasing to see that V is perfecting her nana and mother’s look of utter disdain! That’s my girl!
Oh yeah – and when you finally get bored of that, don’t check your emails in the middle of a live show. Just because it’s a children’s show doesn’t mean you can’t pay attention. It is not only disrespectful to the performers but doesn’t set a very good example to your kids.
OK – rant over. This is a simple show which does the job perfectly. It’s bright, colourful, full of energy and most importantly, kept a theatre full of children entertained.
The show runs for just under 90 minutes including a 15 minute interval which I think this is a very good length for youngsters, especially if, as in this case, each half is packed with action so there is not much danger of it dragging at all.
Billed as suitable for children aged 3-7 years, which I think is about right. As always though, use the age range as a guide, bearing in mind you know your own child best. V is 2.5 years and loved it.
There was quite a bit of merchandise for the featured programmes but I think you could get a lot of it cheaper on the Internet if you hunt about! However, there is something about buying it at the show that adds to the excitement of being at the theatre so you could add buying something into your budget for the day, as part of “the experience”. We got an “activity programme” for £3.00 which I thought was very good value.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Milshake presenters vary according to dates and venues.
It’s a 12 month tour so more dates will be announced – for more details and dates see: Milkshake Live!