The Radlett Centre
26 February 2013, 1.30pm
The premise is simple. It’s Eric Hill’s classic character Spot the Dog’s birthday and all his friends turn up for a party, including Steve the Monkey, Helen the Hippo and Tom the Crocodile plus the puppy’s mum and dad, Sally and Sam – and a mouse!
All the guests then take part in activities that most children will be familiar with if they have ever been to a kid’s party. The guests arrive, they play games, dress up and play musical instruments while Spot opens his presents and blows out the candles on his birthday cake – and all the while, the children in the audience get involved too.
In fact, the audience are treated as party guests rather than just mere onlookers!
This includes joining in when all the characters play instruments in Spot’s big band and a mass game of musical statues with the audience which V loved.
Although her choice of statue, standing on one leg, was never destined to be totally still she had a pretty good go at it! And, as she pointed out, Tom the Crocodile moved first!!
Marco the Rabbit Magician acts as a children’s entertainer, guiding them through the activities and doing the odd trick and making a balloon Spot to boot!
It all happens on a highly colourful “picture book” type set, decorated with birthday cards, which in a lovely personal touch, were brought along for Spot by the children in the audience, who all loved pointing out which one was theirs!
David Wood’s direction is slick and well paced and the action also includes catchy songs and lively dancing from a group of actors who genuinely look like they are enjoying themselves.
I think that V’s highlight was the play within the play! After pass the parcel, where Spot wins the present of the story of Cinderella, all the characters dress up to act it out, and given that it’s possibly her favourite tale of the moment, the massive grin on her face was a joy to see!
A running theme is that Spot’s present of sunflower seeds are taking a long time to grow, but inevitably the finale sees them bloom and the way they filled the stage brought a look of wonder to my little ones face.
By the end, she had sat through the whole thing without fidgeting or, more suprisingly, giving me a running commentary because she was so engrossed in not only what the characters were doing, but what they were asking the audience to do.
A big success for us!
I liked the Crocodile best, but he moved during musical statues! Spot was soooooo cute!
About 60 mins with no interval – it didn’t drag in the slightest!
Advertised as 2+, it was perfect for my three-year-old. There were a number of school parties there when we went where the children looked about five and they were all well into it!
A programme / poster costs £1. I love it when they do this as it can be usefully used afterwards, although it’s more difficult to fit in a bag!
You can also buy Spot toys and a small selection of books for about £6 each – so not bad at all.
The Radlett Centre: 26-27 February 2013
Winchester Theatre Royal: 2-3 March 2013
Bradford Alhambra Theatre: 7-9 March 2013
Belfast Grand Opera House: 18-20 March 2013
Dublin Gaiety Theatre: 23 March 2013
Sheffield Lyceum Theatre: 26-27 March 2013
Guildford G Live Theatre: 28-30 March 2013
Oxford Playhouse: 1-3 April 2013
Swansea Grand Theatre: 5-6 April 2013
Southend Palace Theatre: 8-9 April 2013
Basingstoke The Haymarket Theatre: 11-14 April 2013
Croydon Ashcroft Theatre: 18-19 April 2013
Cambridge Corn Exchange: 20 April 2013
Buxton Opera House: 21 April 2013
Dunfermline Alhambra Theatre: 24 April 2013
Edinburgh Festival Theatre: 25-27 April 2013
Hereford Courtyard Theatre: 30 April – 1 May 2013
Cardiff New Theatre: 2-4 May 2013
Liverpool Playhouse Theatre: 9-11 May 2013
Inverness Eden Court Theatre: 14-15 May 2013
Dundee Rep Theatre: 17-19 May 2013
Newcastle Theatre Royal: 22-25 May 2013
Leeds The Carriageworks: 26 May 2013
Birmingham Town Hall: 29-30 May 2013
Leicester Curve Theatre: 31 May – 1 June 2013
Scunthorpe Plowright Theatre: 2 June 2013
Lancaster Grand Theatre: 4-5 June 2013
Kingston Rose Theatre: 7-9 June 2013
Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre: 13-15 June 2013