Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: GRANDAD, ME...AND TEDDY TOO, Polka Theatre

Review: GRANDAD, ME...AND TEDDY TOO, Polka Theatre

A show for ages 2-5 celebrating the relationship between children and their grandparents

5 stars

London families are spoilt for choice this Christmas, with so many family-friendly shows playing over the festive period. Over in Wimbledon, Polka Theatre offers two productions for different age groups. While children aged 5-12 will love Crackers (in the Main Theatre), those with even younger children can head to the Adventure Theatre for Grandad, Me...and Teddy Too. This sweet and gentle show explores the very special relationship between children and their grandparents.

Written and directed by Sarah Argent, Grandad, Me...and Teddy Too was originally performed in 2014. The idea for the show came about following interviews conducted at local nurseries and schools. A recurring feature of these conversations was the use of the internet to keep in touch with distant relatives.

In recent years, the themes of the show have taken on a greater significance, with so many children under the age of five having first developed relationships with their grandparents via a screen. So, it's little wonder that Argent and the Polka team felt compelled to revisit Grandad, Me... and Teddy Too, and share the fun with the Covid generation.

Grandad, Me...and Teddy Too begins with Mia (Katherine Carlton) excitedly counting down the number of sleeps until Grandad (Gordon Warnecke) comes to visit. Grandad lives in Argentina, and although Mia speaks to him every night online, the pair have never actually met in person. We watch as Grandad and Mia go through their bedtime rituals; Mia wiping the sweat off Grandad's nose (it's hot in Argentina) through the screen and Grandad saying "buenas noches" to Mia and her collection of cuddly toys.

It's a familiar routine and bears the hallmarks of a comfortable, familial relationship. Yet when Grandad finally walks through Mia's bedroom door, there is an unexpected awkwardness. Grandad is taller than Mia expected, and he doesn't do or say the right things. He doesn't know how to play with her toys, he doesn't sing properly; it's all just wrong. But slowly, and gently, the pair discover new ways of connecting. Soon they are jetting off on a magic carpet ride from the safety of Mia's bedroom floor, letting their imaginations soar as they delight in each other's company. And when Grandad heads home to Argentina, and is once again limited to talking to Mia online, we see how their relationship has strengthened.

It's a lovely little show which has the young audience entranced. It's clear that you're watching something special when you experience a room full of silent toddlers! Not that they stay quiet throughout; the silence is punctuated by audible gasps and delighted squeals. The production team clearly knows how to grab and retain the attention of very young audiences, appreciating how simple things can get a big reaction from small people. It's amazing how much joy the toddlers take from watching Mia push around a wooden toy. A moment involving balloons also goes down very well.

It's very relatable, particularly considering the events of recent years. Grandparents of the audience will recognise Grandad's confusion and frustration as he attempts to connect with Mia. And any adult who has engaged in role-play games with small children will appreciate Carlton's perfect portrayal of stubborn Mia's particularities. The set (designed by Katie Lias) is beautiful and enticing; the brilliant Polka ushers are constantly alert to toddlers who attempt to climb off the carpet and into Mia's bedroom. Jonathan Chan's colourful lighting and sound design from Greg Hall also add a touch of magic to proceedings.

Overall, Grandad, Me and Teddy Too is a beautifully understated piece of theatre for very young audiences. Running at around 45 minutes, it's just right for the intended age range and will also resonate for the accompanying adults. If you are a grandparent looking to treat a toddler this Christmas, it would be the perfect way to spend some time together (with a teddy too, of course).

Grandad, Me...and Teddy Too at Polka Theatre until 29 January 2023.

Photo Credit: Steve Gregson & Polka Theatre

Photos: First Look at BERLUSCONI A NEW MUSICAL Photo
Get a first look at photos of BERLUSCONI A NEW MUSICAL at Southwark Playhouse Elephant.

Further Casting Confirmed for Noël Cowards THE VORTEX at Chichester Festival Theatre Photo
Further casting has been confirmed for Noël Coward’s The Vortex, the opening production of Festival 2023 at Chichester Festival Theatre, playing from 28 April – 20 May.

Myra Dubois Will Embark On National Tour and Edinburgh Fringe Run in 2023 Photo
Following a national tour of Australia, British comedy sensation Myra DuBois will be bringing her new show 'Be Well' to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before embarking on a UK tour for 2023.

Now Onsale: THE WIZARD OF OZ at the London Palladium Photo
Now onsale: The Wizard Of Oz at the London Palladium-A sensational cast joins Dorothy and Toto this Summer at The London Palladium for an unforgettable adventure down the yellow brick road!

From This Author - Charlotte Bois-Pursey

Review: THE INSTRUMENTALS, Little Angel TheatreReview: THE INSTRUMENTALS, Little Angel Theatre
February 20, 2023

A moving exploration of loss and grief for ages 4 to 8, infused with funky beats from the seventies.

Review: JACK V GIANT, Polka TheatreReview: JACK V GIANT, Polka Theatre
February 20, 2023

Opening the Spring season at Polka Theatre is a new musical adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk from the team behind We're Going on a Bear Hunt. Co-written by Polka's outgoing Artistic Director, Peter Glanville with music by Barb Jungr, and directed by Roman Stefanski, Jack v Giant offers a gender-swapped take on the fairy tale for ages 4 to 8.

Review: GRANDAD, ME...AND TEDDY TOO, Polka TheatreReview: GRANDAD, ME...AND TEDDY TOO, Polka Theatre
December 12, 2022

A lovely little show for ages 2-5 which explores the special relationship between children and their grandparents.

Review: WE'RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT, Little Angel TheatreReview: WE'RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT, Little Angel Theatre
December 5, 2022

A beautifully constructed piece of children's theatre, filled with puppetry and song.

Review: THE PIXIE AND THE PUDDING, Little Angel StudiosReview: THE PIXIE AND THE PUDDING, Little Angel Studios
December 5, 2022

A gentle and wholesome festive show which offers a nice alternative to the chaos of panto.