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A child's view

CBeebies Live: The Big Band

18 April 2014
LG Arena, Birmingham, 1.30pm

An afternoon of a few thousand excited pre-schoolers would not normally be my first choice of activity on a Bank Holiday, but as usual, the CBeebies Live crew put on such a fast-paced fun-filled show, it won me round.

A line up of children’s telly royalty – Mister Maker, Mr Bloom, Andy Day, Katy (I Can Cook) Ashworth, Nina (of the neurons fame) and, the now legendary, Justin Fletcher all come together to sing, dance, and generally make the youngsters giddy with excitement.

In The Big Band, Rastamouse’s Captain Wensleydale calls for the biggest band ever to be put together – I’m still not sure why – but the premise allows for a lot of music as each character finds a musician.

Rastamouse himself turns up to organise matters which riled me slightly. I have nothing against the character per se but “Me was hearing some banging tunes” is not proper English. However, as he sang Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Going to Be Alright”, I let him off!

Singing with gusto

A guitarist, drummer, sax and keyboard player are all brought on board and each time one is recruited, there is a lively song and dance number – not least V’s favourite, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” which she sung with gusto as the first half came to an end.

Other characters making an appearance were the Zing Zillas (obviously given the musical theme) and of course, everyone’s favourite – Mr Tumble.

Justin Fletcher’s alter ego never fails to put a smile on kids faces with his slapstick humour and this section with four kids from the audience even made me chuckle.

Lots of audience interaction and impressive graphics on big screens mixed with TV favourites right before their eyes, made the youngsters giddy with excitement, and as the juggernaut of fun ploughed onwards at quite a pace  – I can only imagine it was a like a One Direction gig but with pre-schoolers. Or just like a One Direction gig for that matter!

As the show ended with rollicking versions of Dance To The Music and Reach For The Stars, the air was filled with fireworks and silver streamers with the aisles full of kids and adults alike throwing some shapes. These are experiences your children will not forget!

Run time: The first half was about 45 minutes and the second about 30 with a 20-25 minute interval – but, despite my worst fears, it absolutely flies by.

Age range: Anyone who enjoys CBeebies!

Other stuff: Loads of merchandise and they were doing a roaring trade! We got an excellent activity programme which included a CBeebies magazine for £6, which when you realise comics can cost about £4, I think was very good value – especially as it helped to keep V amused while waiting for the start! Against my better judgement I also bought her a plush Captain Wensleydale but it was good quality and is a nice souvenir of this particular show.


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