On Sunday afternoon we headed to the Trafford Centre. Its not the ideal place to head to on a rainy looking Sunday but we did it for a special occasion. The occasion being the In The Night Garden Live showing that was happening that very afternoon!
One of the first show’s Spike watched, In the Night Garden has always been a hit in our house. She dislikes Iggle Piggle, but loves Makka Pakka and Upsy Daisy. She also likes it when we since the Tomliboo song to her while she’s brushing her teeth. So we expected the live show to be a hit too. However after sorting the tickets out we visited a holiday park with a mascot in a fox suit and she did not like that… not one bit! I was worried she wouldn’t like In The Night Garden Live for the same reason. This is why we opted not to go for the “Meet the Character” experience after the show either.
Our journey to The Trafford Centre
We got to the Trafford Centre, and parked relatively easily for a change! Then had lunch by the fountain that Spike absolutely loves, and had a wander round the shops. I had hoped that Spike would sleep some more on the way round but alas, it was not to be. The “Showdome” is a pop up domed tent that it on one of the overflow car parks. So we hopped over the car parks, to take in the magic of the show itself.
Arriving at the Showdome
When you enter the tent before the showdome you are treated by happy, pleasant staff and a huge suvenlour stand. I’ve never seen anything like it but I guess there are lots of In The Night Garden toys and memorabilia. We grabbed a couple of bottles of water (though these were expensive!) and a sheet of stickers for Spike. We waited until after the show for anything else but I was pleasantly suprised to see that the toys were the same price they are in the shops.
We then entered the actual showdome. It’s magical straight away with twinkly lights and music playing. We found a seat quite easily and waited for the show to begin while flicking through the suvenlour activity book you get with your ticket. I liked that they had little things like that included in the price of your ticket.
There was an announcement at 15 mins, 10 mins and 5 mins warning you to get to your seat. Then there was another at 2 mins and finally at 1 min. The final announcement was amusing as it made light of the fact that people won’t be in their seats, just like Iggle Piggle is never in bed when everyone else is.
In the Night Garden Live
The show itself was structured how the TV version is, with a bit of a fun beginning bit with puppets rather than people dressed up. This was followed by either people dressed as the characters or people manoeuvring decent sized puppets around the stage. I loved the use of the dome to cover some of the scenery and thought the puppets were amazing. They were really fun looking, well handled and looked like they had personality!
The props were really well handled and I loved how they managed to give the same impression of the show, with a puppet Make Pakka being used when on stage with Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy, due to how much smaller than them he is!
The work that has gone into the show is incredible and all the characters look just like they do on TV. They are immaculate and the people inside them obviously work really well to get everything right. The sounds are obviously handled off stage and they clapped in all the right places.
There was lots of audience interaction and Makka Pakka’s sponge blew out bubbles. At one point these took over the stage and the dome. Spike absolutely loved that! Especially when one popped on her nose!
After the Show
We headed out the same way you came in, and theres a side section to the entrance where you wait for your Meet the Character Experience. Like I said, we didn’t bother with that, but bought Spike a much loved Upsy Daisy toy (she went to bed cuddling t that night!) and headed for the door. On the way out you can buy a helium balloon too. Though Spike was too enamoured with her Upsy Daisy care!
Things that are good to know
The show was just under an hour long. It contains a mix of digital imagery, puppets and ‘mascot’ type characters (i.e. people dressed up). There was also a few actual people on stage, who interact well with the audience. There are two different shows, the Pinky Ponk Show and the Ninky Nonk Show. We saw the Pinky Ponk show, so can’t say for sure that the bubbles come out into the dome during the Ninky Nonk show. The seating is almost bench like, with no proper chairs, but plenty of room. You don’t have to keep your child quiet during the show at all! No one will mind if they are making a noise. There’s plenty of places where you can sit far away from the stage if your little one gets scared, and you’ll still be able to see.
The show is on in Manchester, at the Trafford Centre, from now until August 28th! Book your ticket quick if you don’t want to miss out!