Review: Ben And Holly's Little Kingdom @ New Theatre
Somewhere, hidden deep within thorny brambles, there's a little kingdom and everyone who lives there is very, very small...
I want to take you back to the days when you were younger, when you were innocent and believed in fairies and magic and elves. Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom is a cartoon just about that: a little girl called Holly, who is a fairy princess; her best friend, Ben, who is an elf; and even their pet, Gaston, who is a ladybird who is much like a dog (he even barks).
It is magical from the start and even parents can enjoy it, with some humour from the wise old elf. He always says, "Magic always causes trouble" to Nanny Plum's optimism, who is always using magic, which most of the time goes wrong.
"All the kids in the audience were very excited and shouting loudly"
Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom has been my daughter's favourite cartoon since she has been able to watch telly and enjoy it. She always gets excited when she hears the theme tune playing, so when I saw that the live show was coming to the New Theatre in Cardiff, I had to ask for tickets to review for theSprout. The place was packed, but we got the tickets and headed up to the second floor for the balcony isle and Tan'ith was very excited. She sat on the seat next to me and we listened to the upbeat kid's music, which sounded so familiar. I believe some might have been from other children's cartoons, like Peppa Pig...
The show started with the theme music and the curtains going up. Tan'ith was bouncing on her seat and was waving, too. When the music stopped, Ben and Holly came running onto the stage. They introduced themselves and said hello and I was very happy and surprised to hear voices very similar to those of the cartoon characters.
Ben and Holly wanted to play together but elves can't fly and fairies can't run very fast, so they decided to play hide and seek. All the kids in the audience were very excited and shouting loudly, "He's over there" or "She's behind you". Ben told Holly not to use magic, but we all knew that wasn't going to last long, and so it went on. We had Ben turn into a frog (someone nearly always gets turned into a frog in the cartoon), we met the elves - Gaston, the Wise Old elf; Nanny Plum; and King Thistle - and we even met the little girl who knows about the little kingdom, who is called Lucy. The show was packed full of songs and moves with which the children and even the parents were told to get involved! This was great fun and somethings even little ones, like Tan'ith could join in with us, too.
The voices of almost all the characters were near enough exactly the same, except for Nanny Plum - you could tell it wasn't the voice from the cartoon. But, everything else was perfect. The storyline was very close and similar to what you saw on TV and the costumes were excellent. I think, all in all, the only let-down was the end, because although there was a big song and dance, you didn't really know it was the end, other than people started leaving and the ushers came in to say it had finished. Although this was a let-down, it still it was a great show, overall.
"A great... day out"
There was plenty of Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom merchandise from t-shirts to bags, from masks to toy fans that lit up and spun, and even plush Gastons (like the one in the image I took).
We had a great time and I would highly recommend it to any family who have kids who live Ben and Holly. It was a great mum and daughter day out for me and Tan'ith and it could be a great family bonding session for bigger families.
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Image Credits: New Theatre website & author