Hopgood Theatre
Until 22 Apr 2021

Review by Janice Bailey

‘Bluey’ is a very well-known children’s TV show loved by children and families alike. Joe Brumm, the Bluey creator who adapted it for the stage, brings the same magic to the stage as millions of young people (and their parents) have experienced with the TV show.

Currently showing at the Hopgood Theatre, Bluey’s Big Play the Stage Show features an original story by Bluey creator Joe Brumm and new music by Bluey composer, Joff Bush. The well-known characters of Bluey and Bandit and their Mum and Dad are ‘played’ by larger than life puppets, brought to life by exceptionally talented and energetic puppeteers, featuring the voices of Dave McCormack and Melanie Zanetti as Bandit and Chilli Heeler along with Bluey and Bingo – interestingly, whose voices have never been credited. Directed by the multiple award-winning artistic director of Windmill Theatre, Rosemary Myers and designed by Jonathon Oxlade the stage show is an extension of the TV series.

The audience I was part of was a mix of children and adults who were there as much to enjoy the show as allow their children to experience the delight of seeing their favourite characters ‘in real life’. No-one seemed to mind that the hard-working puppeteers directed by Jacob Wiliams were clearly visible – in fact, this actually added another layer to the enjoyment of the experience.

The set and lighting are exceptional, in order to meet the needs of the puppeteers and audience – there is even an appearance of a couple of ‘bin chickens’ at the beginning of the show, to the delight of the audience. This was indeed a wonderful theatrical experience, to be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. We are certainly fortunate to have the facilities of the wonderful Hopgood Theatre, which allows shows of this calibre to be brought to the south.