Review: BLUEY'S BIG PLAY, Southbank Centre

Chatter-maximum merry magic!

By: Dec. 22, 2023
Review: BLUEY'S BIG PLAY, Southbank Centre
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Review: BLUEY'S BIG PLAY, Southbank Centre

Bluey’s Big Play is a theatrical adaptation of the Emmy Award-winning children’s television series, with an original story by Blueycreator Joe Brumm, and new music by Bluey composer Joff Bush.

Bluey’s Big Play opens to an idyllic scene featuring a classic Bluey set of multicoloured flooring, soaring birds in flight and Australian emu’s exploring and pecking the location. The Heeler family arrive to high volume applause by an adoring young audience, with a game of musical statues with added shaking bottoms! Teams of highly skilled puppeteers move the large-scale puppets with close attention to expression, foot movement and clever mechanics allowing for eyebrow, pupil and mouth movement.

Review: BLUEY'S BIG PLAY, Southbank Centre
Photo Credit: Mark Senior

Bluey is masterfully moved by puppeteers Shakira Alleyne, Tess Oliver and Laura Raineri, particularly coordinated at capturing the energy and curiosity of the six-year-old puppy. Equally dynamic are the brilliant puppeteers responsible for Bingo’s movement Miroe Fuches, Laura Hyde and Charlotte Rae.

Much-loved elements from series one are presented, namely the episodes of Magic Xylophone, Musical Statues, Keepy Uppy and the hysterically funny Grannies.

In Bluey’s Big Play ‘Dad’ Bandit is physicaly moved by puppeteers Jon Godsi, Adam Ryan, Aarod Vawser and voiced by Dave McCormack. Bandit has his mobile phone mischievously taken by the children and hidden in multiple locations, in order to get his attention and set up the group play action. Bandit exclaims that he just needs some quiet time, and such is the connection to the watching adults, who whilst adoring their very own ankle-bitters, will always need time to themselves.

Review: BLUEY'S BIG PLAY, Southbank Centre
Photo Credit: Mark Senior

Bluey is adored by children and adults for its humour, imaginative play and is particularly appreciated by adults for never fearing to acknowledge the big issues in life. The adaptation concentrated on themes of sibling responsibility, in which Bluey struggles with Bingo’s copying, but also enjoys the ability to lead the play narrative between them. Chilli in her wisdom explains that Bluey can make Bingo feel like as big as a giant, or as tiny as a mouse, depending on her behaviour, an analogy all parents with two or more children can use to visual effect.

A poignant moment came where Chilli, by puppeteers Sophie Blythe, Helena Mitchell and Lucy Whitney, and voiced by Melanie Zanetti reflected on her distant relationship with her elder sister Brandy, endeavouring to make contact more frequently to reconnect. At this festive time of year, this felt fitting to check-in with family and friends.

The action is upbeat, humorous, and ever present with ‘wackadoo’s’! Stand-out moments came in the child rave sequences of Chattermax, the ever-present noisy toy all parents would much rather had never entered their home! Expect full chair dancing and shrieks of joy with opportunities for audience particiption. The bubbles and giant keepy-uppy balls further add to the hysteria. Blue’s Big Play is pure Chatter-MAXimum merry magic!

Bluey’s Big Play runs until 7 January 2024, as part of the Winter Festival at the Royal Festival Hall at The Southbank Centre




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