Review: Bing Live
When I told Chris that we were going to be taking Isla to see her favourite Cbeebies character at the Wycombe Swan theatre he immediately checked the football schedule, hoping that the Manchester United FA Cup match against Reading was being played at Reading so he could try to get tickets for that instead. Sorry love, it was being played in Manchester, so there was no way of him getting out of going.
Bing Live is produced by Minor Entertainments (best known for the 10 year theatre run of In The Night Garden) and brings to life BBC iPlayers’ number one top rated pre-school programme. With the help of his friends Coco, Pando and Sula (no Charlie in this stage show), Bing learns all about the theatre – curtains, spot lights, applause – and put on a show at the end for all the Bingsters and parents in the audience to enjoy. Bing and friends are, like in the television programme, looked after by their carers Flop and Amma. Padget also doesn’t feature in the stage show – she’s obviously busy running her shop!
We took Isla to the Panto before Christmas, and she absolutely loved it, although really struggled with sitting in her seat for such a long period of time. Thankfully Bing Live is 75 minutes long, with a 15 minute break so you can all catch the toilet train and have a carroty bagel! And at Wycombe Swan the Bingsters are all allowed to dance in the aisles, and strongly encouraged to do so, unlike at the Panto where Isla was told off for doing so!
The show is full of songs, dancing, dressing up and lots of fun. The songs throughout the show are repeated several times so that your Bingster can get to know the words and actions, so that they (and you!) can join in….and sing it at home for the rest of the day!!
One small thing that might confuse your little Bingster is the voices. Obviously Bing and his friends are not played by the original television programmes voice actors, and so some of the voices (particularly Bing and Pando) are drastically different to the television programme, and so it may be worth mentioning this to your little one beforehand to save on confusion and many, many questions!
Sadly, unlike Minor Entertainments In The Night Garden, there is no opportunity to meet Bing and his friends after the show. But there is the opportunity to purchase an array of Bing merchandise before and after the show. At Wycombe Swan plush toys were selling for £12.50, and talking plush toys for £20 (which may sound a lot, but when I looked online it didn’t seem too bad a price). I was pretty appalled however at the cost of a Bing balloon….not even a big character balloon….just a standard circular balloon with a scene from Bing on it, costing an extortionate £5!!! Sorry Isla, but you weren’t having one of those. Instead, we told her she could have one of the plush toys. She decided she wanted Coco (to our surprise!), but strangely they didn’t have Coco available at all (not even sold out, they just didn’t have them!), but instead had Charlie, who didn’t even feature in the show! Makes no sense to me, but Isla eventually agreed on a Charlie.
Activity brochures were also available for sale for £5, which is pretty standard for the price of a brochure at the theatre. I did think it was quite good though, as it had stickers in that reflected the show, as well as the songs that featured in the show, dot-to-dots, and pictures to colour in.
Bing Live is the perfect show to introduce your child to the theatre for the first time, with characters they already know and love, they will literally be dancing in the aisles for the whole performance, enjoying every minutes, and that is what the theatre is really about.
Going to the theatre…it’s a Bing thing!
I’ve also written a review of the show over on the Theatre South East site, so if you wanted to read that too you can!
Bing Live is part way through a tour of over 50 venues around the UK, with the final dates being at the end of April.
Disclaimer: We were gifted tickets, via Theatre South East, for the purpose of reviewing this show.