Grove Theatre, Dunstable
1.00pm, 22 October 2014
This is a slick recreation of a very popular animated series which although contains one of my pet hates – people in mascot style animal costumes – was very well done and used lots of technical gubbins to add to the entertainment.
So while yes, the characters were mainly actors in animal costumes but there was also puppetry – Tunip, Stanley the starfish and the blobfish – and even a real life human in an Octonaut uniform who literally popped up in front of us in the audience at the start and gave us the fright of our lives!
Also as we sat waiting for the show to launch, we particularly enjoyed how instead of the usual “the show will begin in x minutes” countdown, an announcer told the audience the voyage would begin in a certain amount of time which really helped to build the excitement for the little ones.
The story was full-on adventure where the Octonauts went to rescue a blobfish from the underwater volcano. There were good volcano effects and real edge of the seat stuff when it looked like Captain Barnacle wouldn’t make it out.
I didn’t entirely understand how he was saved – I thought it wouldn’t matter – V won’t care, but she obviously did and I think I just mumbled something plausible-ish. Sorry if I’ve spoilt the plot but come on – they weren’t exactly going to kill him off were they – and risk traumatising an audience of little ones? No chance!
The technical stuff really added the extra element to the show which took it a notch above some TV adaptations.
When we had arrived to see a big screen on the stage, I had quipped that I hoped they weren’t just going to show the TV series but in reality it was used to good effect to help with audience interaction as they learned how to steer.
There was also some excellent under the sea back projection – which I would rather like in my own home – which cleverly changed as the audience helped drive the Octopod to the depths of the ocean and back up again.
Highlights for us were the midnight-zone section with puppeteers, neon fish and UV lighting and some great catchy songs – although when I tried to join in I was told very firmly by my daughter not to sing or dance.
“I love everything about you except your mouth,” she added! That told me then!
All in all an exciting show for all Octonaut lovers who will relish the chance to really be part of the adventure.
For tour details visit the website.
Run time: About 1 hour 20 mins including a 15 minute interval.
Age range: 3+ but younger ones will be fine.
Other stuff: We got a good activity programme for £5 and eventually succumbed to spending £8 on a plush blobfish because I thought it was cute! There are other books, toys and various flashing sparkly things available too.