Days Out: In The Night Garden Live

I’m sure there aren’t many pre-school kids who haven’t watched In The Night Garden which in turn means most parents have experienced the delights of the Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk.

Having worked in marketing for many years I can’t really pass judgement on bringing the brand to life and BBC Worldwide haven’t missed a trick with In The Night Garden Live.  Literally bringing the night garden and its inhabitants to the toddlers and parents of the UK.  Each year the show tours the land setting up shop (literally) with its unique show-dome, or as Master ATWWAH called it as we arrived, ‘a tent’.

We booked tickets in advance along with our NCT buddies and resisted the temptation of buying ‘premium’ tickets which was a wise decision.  No ticket would be a bad ticket as the way the seating is designed it means you all get a good view.  I’d have been a bit miffed if I’d have paid the premium for those tickets to be honest.  Ticket prices start at £20 and prices for shows differ depending on the day/time you go.

I don’t think our show was a sell out but it was busy and very well managed with easy buggy parking, baby change, loos and things for toddlers to look at as they went in.  They all received a souvenir activity brochure which were priced at £6 but were included in your ticket.  The marketing cynic in me thinks this could have been leftover stock from last year’s tour which was now just being given away but it was a nice enough touch and kept Master ATWWAH interested before the show began.

The UK was enjoying a heatwave when we went so it was pretty warm inside the Show Dome.  There were fans blowing but they didn’t make too much of a difference but the temperatures were rare.  And it meant ice cream sales went well that day I’m sure.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show and it was a mixture of puppetry (the Avenue Q type where you see the puppeteers are part of the show) and costume characters.  Call me soppy but the price of the ticket was worth it for the look on Master ATWWAH’s face when Makka Pakka’s costume character arrived on stage with his bike.  I had to bite my lip.

Makka Pakka

Mikka Makka Moo

The show lasted for about 50 minutes which considering the TV show is 30 minutes felt long.  But the kids we were with all stayed with it throughout.  It was the day Andy Murray was in the Wimbledon Final so quite a few of the adults were distracted by their phones but I was pretty surprised that kids could stay still that long and be entertained.

Afterwards we met Igglepiggle.  Master ATWWAH is pretty shy so needed some coaxing to approach him but the girl working there and taking the pic was very good.  I just felt a bit sorry for Iggle Piggle sweating in his costume.  The photo was free but after paying £15 to ‘meet a character’ it sort of needed to be.  And, only Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy are the only options.  Supposedly Makka Pakka is too busy stacking stones afterwards.

Although it is only fair to say that the Meet The Character tickets do allow up to three kids and two adults in on one ticket so if there are a few of you it should work out pretty reasonably although you do only get one photo free.

I’d definitely recommend the show as a one-off thing to do.  I’m not so sure kids over 3 would be that into it though but maybe that’s a good thing.  There is only so much In The Night Garden a parent should have to endure.

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