The Radlett Centre, Radlett
22 March, 2014, 3.30pm
As an adult, I’ve always found Bananas in Pyjamas a bit odd. I mean the name is great. It’s funny, it draws you in, but quite honestly where do you go from there? What can bananas in night attire actually do?
But children find them colourful and fun so who am I to question the logic?
In their new show, the Milkshake favourites B1 and B2 are joined in Cuddlestown Park by their three teddy bear friends – Morgan, Lulu and Amy – to organise a party for Morgan’s fluffy bunny. Predictably the soft toy goes missing. Then they find it – with the help of the banana detectives – and have the party. That’s about the gist of it.
But while it follows a simple story, the show is packed out with loads of very lively tunes – not least their horribly catchy theme tune which, annoyingly, I am still singing – and interactivity with the audience.
Huge balls are thrown out which need to be kept aloft and at various other points the audience has to run, dance, shout and sing out – all of which keep the little ones engaged.
The characters are completely costumed – think dancing football mascots and you’ll be pretty much there – and it’s all held together by a pleasant narrator who directs both those on the stage and the audience.
Four-year-old V sat quietly watching throughout – which is a sign that she was engaged with it. That and her telling me and her dad to stop singing because she was “trying to focus”.
She later told me she thought they should have changed the stage from the park to the Bananas’ house so they could go and fetch a new cooking bowl when they broke the old one. Her critique of the “single set” play was followed by a child friendly discussion on arts funding.
But in years to come, when I am interviewed about my Oscar-winning director daughter, I will describe the moment I first realised she had it in her as the time when she told me how she would have changed Bananas in Pyjamas!
While this lively production may not have the theatricality of some we have seen – Premier Stage Productions show is an enjoyable way for little fans of the TV show to spend an afternoon.
Check the tour dates here.
Running time: About 90 minutes including a 15 minute interval.
Age range: Billed as suitable for ages 3-6.
Other stuff: We got a good activity programme for £3. Flashing wands were £5 and you can get a cuddly banana toy for £15.