The Teletubbies. It took me a while to figure out why they’re called that, but my recent lightbulb moment had me going “ohhh!” Is it because they have a telly in their tummy?? And they’re a bit ‘tubby’?? That’s my conclusion, and I’m sticking with it! (Until someone comes up with a better reason.)
Anyway, they were my childhood go-to programme. My very first CD was of the Teletubbies sound track (I was 4, and I still remember it!) and it makes me pretty happy to see it’s still going strong, and that my little ones like it too!
Shortly after Christmas, my sister and I saw an advert for “Teletubbies Live!” at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. With both of us having 2 year olds, and us being as big a kids as they are, naturally we booked the tickets. Or at least, my sister did.
I was dubious afterwards, as I’ve seen William around dress up characters, and he’s not particularly a fan of full costumed characters like the Teletubbies. (My mum dressed up as Upsy Daisy for Halloween and he cried when she put the head on!) I hoped my sister had booked us seats far enough back that it wouldn’t be so obvious that they were people in costumes!
Fast forward to last weekend, and after a late night (thanks Eurovision.) and an early start (thanks William.) I was knackered before the day had even started! But excited nonetheless. It was going to be William and Ethan’s first theatre experience! We also had to bring Rubeon along as he still won’t take a bottle so leaving him was out of the question, and Lily had a day with daddy! We had decided that it would be best to drive to Cambridge, mostly because it was forecast to rain and we didn’t want to get caught in it, and also because William would’ve just wanted to get back to the train station as soon as we’d left it. It wasn’t worth the tears!
After a slight palava with car seats, we were finally strapped in and ready to go! (First a quick pit stop for snacks and fuel.)
Once we made it to Cambridge, the original car park we were headed to was the Grand Arcade Car Park, but it was full, so we opted for one slightly further away which we happened to pass by chance called The Queen Anne Terrace Car Park. It was a short 10-15 minute walk to the Corn Exchange, and only cost us £5.10 for 4 hours on a Sunday! (Half the price of the Grand Arcade prices!)
We unloaded the boys and found our way to the Corn Exchange with good old GPS and google maps. We made it in good time, and Annie went to collect our tickets from the booth next door. I really liked this way of organisation as it saved us losing or forgetting the tickets, and we weren’t all piled up and waiting in a long queue to get into the Corn Exchange as the ticket collection was actually a separate office next to it!
Upon entering the foyer, it was all very relaxed and laid back. The ticket inspectors were so wonderful! They were interactive with the kids and spoke to them and got them all excited! (Ok, maybe not so great, but it was cute to see!) As we walked in, Annie and I eyed the merchandise stand, and immediately wanted it all!
There were 2 t-shirts to choose from (£13 each), individual light up Teletubbies wands (£12 each), headbands with each teletubbies antennae and a booklet. (There might’ve been more, but I was trying to crowd control the boys as well as pay attention to the stand!)
The boys both wanted a light up teletubbies wand! William asked for Po, and Ethan asked for Tinky Winky (even though he doesn’t like that one…kids…) We chose to buy them before the show started as we weren’t sure how quickly they’d run out, and if the stand would still be there afterwards! (It was.) I must say, I am ever grateful to whoever created them as they do ONLY light up! We made the mistake one year at Christmas of buying a Santa light up wand, which also sang ‘Jingle Bells’ over and over…and over…(we hadn’t realised until the boys found the button in the car…)
So off we head to go find our seats. We were row J – now to me in my head, that would make us half way back on the ground floor seating. I wasn’t there with Annie to choose our seats so I had no idea where she’d chosen! Down the aisle we wandered and couldn’t see our row. Further and further closer to the front we got until we saw “Row J.” Ah crap. Let me refer you to earlier in the post when I said William doesn’t like fully dressed up characters.
2nd row from the front. We might’ve well have been on stage with the teletubbies! As the lights dimmed down, the music started and a ‘human’ actress came on stage. (I.e. not a teletubby!) Initially, William was pretty excited, the introductory music for the Teletubbies started and the backdrop screen changed to the hills for the setting. And then the teletubbies came on stage. Well that was it. The smile went from Williams face and his bottom lip quivered.
I felt awful watching his enjoyment dissipate before me. A small part of me couldn’t help but laugh at the faces he pulled throughout the first half of the show. From not wanting to smile, to closing his eyes and peeping through one of them to check they were still on stage! Ethan on the other hand waved hello to all the teletubbies and his eyes lit up in awe and glee at seeing them!
The show itself was fantastic. It engaged the children to dance and join in with waving and shouting out. Everything you’d expect for a children’s show! The storyline followed just like the tv programme would, with odd snippets of each teletubby interacting with one thing or another. Po had her scooter, Tinky Winky used the tubby toaster (which sent toast flying about all over the stage!) Dipsy played with a musical wind up chest, and La-La, err…possibly danced? I got a bit preoccupied with feeding the baby and trying to cheer William up at this point!
Noo-Noo even made an appearance! That was pretty cool, I don’t know how it was controlled but it zoomed all around the stage and it’s nose nozzle waggled about!
From a stage hand point of view, I really liked how the change of scene and setting was handled. There were 9 actors/actresses. 4 being the teletubbies, 4 were stage hands and the last one was the ‘human’ who interacted with the Teletubbies! The stage hands were dressed in dungaree overalls and were incorporated into the scene changes as other characters. They also handled and pretended to be other props such as sheep and rabbits! It was all very cleverly done!
It was about an hour long, with an interval in between. It took William about 10 minutes after the second half had begun to start enjoying the show. Better late than never I suppose. All in all, the show was brilliant, and I would highly recommend it!
We finished the day with a McDonald’s, and got slightly lost in Cambridge town centre (we took a wrong turn.) but eventually found our way back to the car, where both boys zonked out!
*This was written off my own back. No endorsements or payment, just my own personal review 🙂 – apologies for the poor photos too, I was juggling a baby and a toddler who didn’t enjoy it for the most part!*