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Children's shows - reviews

CBeebies Prom

Waiting for it to start!

Waiting for it to start!

Royal Albert Hall, London
26 July 2014, 11.00am

The first ever CBeebies prom was a lovely thing for all the family!

What could be a better way to spend a weekend morning than taking your child to one of the most famous concert venues in the world to hear part of what is probably the most famous series of concerts? Definitely one for the memory bank.

Eight pieces of classical music, played by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Stephen Bell, were interspersed with favourite children’s presenters.

Chris Jarvis, Katy Ashworth, Andy Day, Cat Sandion, Gemma Hunt from Swashbuckle and Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks – one for the ladies!) provided links between each piece and talked about sounds and the instruments that made them.

Their skills as children’s TV presenters made it great fun and interactive way for youngsters to learn about classical music.

It’s a shame the ZingZillas didn’t make an appearance, given that their show teaches children about music, but all in all I was very glad they didn’t succumb to massive mascot like representations of the characters and stuck to real people!

CBeebies Prom

We were eye-wateringly high up!

It all started with an overture medley of CBeebies theme tunes with the relevant presenter coming through the audience and went on to include Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea-Songs aka the Blue Peter theme tune, Holst’s St Paul’s Suite Finale and Midnight from Prokofiev’s Cinderella.

The latter was preceded by the legendary Bernard Cribbins as Old Jack reading a version of the famous fairytale and it was lovely to have him there as a link between my childhood and four-year-old V’s!

Added bonus

There was also a thread running through it which showed Robert the Robot from Justin’s House on big screens around the hall, going around London collecting “sounds” for the finale.

This leads to a rousing finale of Barrie Bignold’s new piece, Around Sound, accompanied by the audience shouting out the ding of a bus, a market trader’s call of “apples and pears”, marching soldiers and Big Ben!

Royal Albert Hall

It was so lovely to take V to such a famous venue!

V was pretty much enthralled by the whole thing – the sound of a live orchestra in that amazing venue got her attention from the start, familiar TV faces were just an added bonus!

We were very high up but she didn’t bat an eyelid – she just opened them very widely, amazed at the enormity of the venue!

She regularly used the opera glasses I had taken along – which seemed to be just as exciting for her – but it is testament to the engagement of the show that being such a distance away didn’t alienate her!

I, meanwhile, took a few deep breaths and a few drops of rescue remedy and put a brave face on it. I don’t think she noticed!

The place was pretty much packed out which was very heartening to see and afterwards V told me it had been “awesome”.

This prom follows on from the success of last year’s Dr Who and 2011’s Horrible Histories concerts – we hope they do it again!

Run time: A perfect 50 minutes.

Other stuff: An excellent children’s programme for £4. Very impressive!

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