Bluey’s Big Play brings happiness and joy to Plymouth this half term

-Credit: (Image: Mark Senior)
-Credit: (Image: Mark Senior)

Bluey’s Big Play is entertaining kids of all ages in Plymouth this week. After recently bagging an Olivier award for “Best Family Show”, this theatrical adaptation of a much-loved TV series is in big demand with audiences across the country. It’s atTRP until Sunday and so far, everyone is loving it!

Based on the popular children’s cartoon from Australia, the play is most definitely designed with its core target market at heart. Every single, mesmerising detail focuses on providing mini theatre goers with an experience they’ll never forget. The pace, the pitch, the set design, and the show’s duration of 50 minutes are finely tuned to hook young fans into the action and get them excited about going to the theatre. This, of course, can only be a good thing.

Its plot is simple and therefore easy for kids as young as two (and their exhausted parents) to follow. Bluey and Bingo really want their dad to play with them all day. But Bandit Heeler has other plans. As playful as he usually is, Bandit is craving what most parents crave; a break and time to mindlessly scroll on his phone in peace.

Undeterred by their dad’s devotion to his digital device, Bluey and Bingo cook up a plan to hold his phone hostage so he has no excuse not to play with them. Will they be able to hide his phone and get him to indulge in games like “rag doll” and “raiders” all day or will Bandit finally retrieve his lost phone and get some time to rest?

The performance begins with calm, classical music from the show and features beautiful puppetry with birds and butterflies. These puppets are fixed on to the end of long, bendy poles so they’re able to reach out elegantly into the crowd.

Young audience members are quickly settled in time for the cartoon’s catchy signature tune. Character names are held above the puppeteers’ heads to encourage audience participation and we’re shouting and singing along to the opening credits. The Heeler family dance joyfully at the front of the stage and the tone is set; we’re all in for a lot of fun!

Bingo, Bluey, Bandit and Chilli are all large, colourful puppets brought to life by a talented team of trained puppeteers. The character’s voices are pre-recorded by the original “Bluey” artists, so all the voices are exactly the same as they are on TV. We quickly forget the puppeteers are there; dressed in similar colours to the bright set, they merge into the background quite quickly and we’re able to gaze admiringly at the character’s famous features. We particularly enjoyed the way Bluey and the gang rolled their eyes and used their eyebrows to show emotion and humour at key points.

Making small, everyday moments bigger and more memorable is a key ingredient of the cartoon’s success and this aspect of the series is emulated on stage. A little dance at bedtime blossoms into a frantic, audience wide rave and a small game of “keepy uppy” with a solitary, red balloon escalates into a frenzied finale complete with bubbles, bouncy balls and loud music.

Does “Bluey’s Big Play” pack the same emotional punch as some of the more famous episodes of the cartoon? Perhaps not, but if you’re looking for a performance to engage and entertain a young “Bluey” fan, then this play is for you. Children’s theatre at its best and on our door step in time for half term!

Bluey's Big Play is at Theatre Royal Plymouth until June 2.