I took my toddler to see In the Night Garden Live and it was absolutely brilliant

There’s a point it hits you as a parent that all the live gigs and events you’ve booked for the year are a little less Foo Fighters and a bit more Peppa Pig. It’s after the newborn stage and just about when they’ve started to decide exactly who their favourite characters are.

And if you haven’t got toddlers, I'll let you in on a secret. It’s brilliant. I don’t miss standing in a room sweating, a 40 minute queue for the bar and unable to see the band I’ve paid through the nose to see at all (I'm very short). And if all children’s shows are as good as In the Night Garden Live I’ll happily go as long as my kids want to.

In the Night Garden is a bit of a cult movement. They only ever made 100 episodes and it’s been off the air long enough for the first children who watched it to become parents themselves. And yet the live shows are still a sell-out hit.

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The show has a charm that isn’t diminished by quirks such as the characters being mildly terrifying and the perspective often changing - sometimes the Ninky Nonk (the garden’s train) is small enough to circle around at Iggle Piggle’s feet, other times it’s big enough for everyone to ride in.

All of this lovely charm translates wonderfully to the stage, from the moment the familiar music starts to the end when Iggle Piggle just won’t go to sleep (in fairness, he doesn’t have a bed).

My toddler was enthralled to the point of sobbing whenever any character left the stage and enjoyed it so much I’m slightly worried about nothing else in his life ever living up to the experience.

The format is just like the show, with an original story where Iggle Piggle goes around the Garden looking for his friends and investigating the source of a mysterious noise. On the way he meets the characters Macca Pacca, Upsy Daisy, the Tombliboos and the Pontypines who thrilled all the children in the audience by waving and singing their songs. The amazing Flying Pinky Ponk made an appearance too and was genuinely impressive - a huge blimp soaring over the audience.

At just under an hour it’s a perfect length for a toddler’s attention span, leaving us enough time to splash in the fountain outside the Belgrade Theatre and go out for lunch before getting home in time for a nap.

My two-year-old said it was ‘the best day ever’ - and there’s no higher praise than that. Pip Pip Onk Onk!

CoventryLive went to see In the Night Garden Live at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. Visit https://www.belgrade.co.uk/ for more information about what’s on.

In the Night Garden Live is touring the UK until September 2024 at venues across the UK with tickets still available. Visit https://www.nightgardenlive.com/ for more information.

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