On Monday we went to see In The Night Garden Live, which brings all your children’s favourite characters from the CBeebies show to the stage.

We were kindly given tickets for the four of us in return for an honest review. As the nearest venue to us is Manchester, we decided to stay over night and spend some time at the Intu Trafford Centre, which is where the purpose-built inflatable In the Night Garden showdome is.

Clara and Izzy made sure they had their Makka Pakka and Upsy Daisy toys (which they got last year when we went to see the show) and we headed off to Manchester. They were very excited and Clara kept asking in the car if we were there yet as she really wanted to see Makka Pakka.

After booking online you get several emails in the run up to the show to make your visit as easy as possible. The emails give you information about getting to the venue, parking (which is free at Intu Trafford Centre) and what to expect when you arrive. You also have the opportunity to pre-book a goodie bag at a discounted rate and book to meet one of the characters after the show – we did that last year and you get a few minutes with either Igglepiggle or Upsy Daisy and a souvenir photo for £15.

When we got to the showdome we showed our tickets and Izzy and Clara were given a free souvenir programme each. We were then directed to a queuing area and we only had to wait about 5 minutes before the doors to the seating area opened.

The show is very family friendly – here are just some of the things I noticed:

  • There are 4 showings per day – 10am, 12noon, 2pm and 4pm – which means that you can pick a show which fits around nap times if you have younger children.
  • The doors only open 30 minutes before the show starts, so there isn’t a lot of hanging around and waiting – as we know that can get very boring for little ones!
  • The lights are kept low but it’s not too dark, and there is a tv screen showing the live show behind the main seating area, if the main show is a bit overwhelming for some children.
  • There is general chatter and noise (and lots of ‘oo-ing’ and aa-ing’) so kids are not expected to sit in silence for the whole show.

All the characters that you will be familiar with if you have ever seen the CBeebies show are brought to life on stage using a mix of full-size costumes and puppets. Images are projected onto the side of the inflatable showdome around the stage, and the show features the same voice over and music as the tv show. The story (there are 2 different shows to pick from) follows the same format as the tv show, so it’s very familiar to children and they know what to expect. It’s a nice way to introduce children to the theatre without having to worry if they will sit still or get bored.

We went to see the Ninky Nonk show, which tell the story of Igglepiggle losing his blanket. Clara was mesmerised throughout; she was pointing at things and talking about what was happening. She loved Makka Pakka the most. At 6 Izzy was probably one of the oldest children there, but she enjoyed it a lot more than I thought she would. She was just as mesmerised as her little sister and was laughing and ‘oo-ing’ and ‘aa-ing’ away with Clara. I would imagine not all 6 year olds would be interested but even if they are not into In the Night Garden anymore, it’s the experience of being at a live show which is exciting. There were very young babies there, and lots of toddlers. I would say the majority of children were around 12 months to 3 years old. Clara is 3 and she found it very exciting and was clapping along and dancing to the music.

There are 13 rows of seats, with the first few available to book as premium seating and the rest as standard seating. We were sat in the standard seating area and there were no issues with seeing the stage. The only thing I would say is that you are just sat on a hard bench which can be a bit uncomfortable for adults, so maybe take a jumper or coat to sit on (something which we forgot to do!)

I would definitely recommend the show if you have young children who love In the Night Garden. There’s also plenty to do in and around the Intu Trafford Centre so you can make a day of it – we went to the 2pm show and spent a couple of hours shopping afterwards before heading to the food court for tea.

The show is on at Intu Trafford Centre, Manchester until Monday 28th August 2017 – you can still buy tickets at www.nightgardenlive.com.

*We were given tickets in order to review In the Night Garden Live. All words and opinions are my own. 

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