We’ve been to some pretty cool gigs in our time. Even some secret gigs in tiny clubs with our cool DJ friends. You know, cool stuff. Cause we used to be cool.
I don’t know why I mention this. Anyway, today we went to see Chris and Pui from CBeebies.
Not that they were allowed to use any word that might be owned by the BBC, so this was just the Chris and Pui show. But yeah, they are from the place that sounds a bit like a bee called Bea that you might see….or that’s how Chris explained it anyway. The copyright issues only impeded them slightly – they were still allowed to ask people to show them, show them stuff and all the characters from the TV show appeared. Apparently not even the BBC can claim to copyright Humpty Dumpty.
So, an hour and 15 minutes with CBeebies’ finest may sound like Hell to you, but it was pretty fun really. There was a lot of audience participation and the kids were encouraged to be noisy. An opening announcement of “please turn off your phones and turn up the volume of your children” reassured me that it was OK for the kids to be a bit noisy. And obviously, everyone else there also had a small child with them. We were in the glamourous borough of Lewisham, close to the giant cat of Catford (below), and they threw in a few local references for some easy cheers (The Grand Old Duke of York going up Shooters Hill, for example)
In fact, there were a lot of gags for the grown-ups. We were there with Maria and her family, and both Nathan and her husband giggled for ages at Twinkle’s “constellation” joke. There were references to the Ikea horsemeat scandal, a speeding MP and even something that ran “on double A batteries”. It was all a bit saucy panto in places. And Chris is possibly even camper on stage than he is on TV, in case you thought that wasn’t possible.
But mostly, it was aimed squarely at the 1-4s. There were nursery rhymes by the dozen, puppets, a couple of loose storylines of a sort and a lot of interaction in the “he’s behind you!” genre. It was fun, it was fast-paced and they really know their audience. Reuben got very excited about pointing out the missing chicken as he popped up behind a wall (“There he is! There’s the chicken!”) and did some very enthusiastic marching when requested. He was eating his crisps while everyone else was doing groovy moves, but he waved his arms around a bit and Eva enjoyed a dance standing up on a seat. She mainly faced backwards, making googly eyes at the people behind us, but was enraptured during “Twinkle twinkle little star”, making star signs with her hands and grinning. It really had something for everyone.
Afterwards, there was a meet ‘n’ greet and both children melted down in the queue from overexcitment and tiredness. But Reuben rallied, in time to squeak a “goodbye” to the preschool celebs. They seemed genuinely nice, and took a lot of interest in the letter that Maria …sorry –Maria’s children had written to them. It was a nice way to end the show and they still seemed hyped enough to do it again in a few hours.
VERDICT: Great for pre-schoolers and their parents. Fun, camp and energetic…as long as you’re not bothered about looking cool.