An audience of toddlers is introduced to the orchestra by Peppa Pig and her immediate family in this nearly hour-long show.
In many ways, Peppa, little brother George, Mummy, and Daddy Pig (and Grandpa Pig, in a brief two-dimensional cameo on his miniature locomotive, Gertrude) are ideally suited to get children excited about – well – anything.
Their appearance onstage generates a huge surge of joy and a chorus of enraptured exclamations: “There’s Mummy Pig! There’s Daddy Pig! There’s Peppa Pig! And her little brother George! George has his toy dinosaur!” (The dinosaur is available in plush at the gift stall after the show…)
The general euphoria ebbs distinctly as the musicians appear on stage accompanied by a slightly plodding, but well-meaning, introduction to their various instruments: percussion, double bass, violins, viola, bassoon, horn, and harp. This brief interval of didacticism is lost on the young audience, who appear distracted by the seemingly inexplicable absence of Mummy and Daddy Pig (doubtless necessitated by a need to give the actors a brief respite from their hefty and heat-retentive body suits.) Although the Peppa and George puppets remain in situ on stage, this does not appear to reassure the expectant infant fans.
Happily, the wriggling masses are instantly appeased by the orchestra’s first piece, the Peppa Pig theme tune – an anthem for the under-fives. The ‘Russian Dance’ from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite is only half successful in its attempt to recruit the young audience to interact – the bobbing arms that appear extended among the audience are chiefly the result of intense parental coaxing – or (more probably) parental participation.
‘Bing Bong Boo’ is a major hit. It is played more than once. The song serves as an introduction to the glockenspiel and brings Daddy Pig back on stage where he demonstrates comical ineptitude with percussion. The return of Daddy and Mummy Pig to the limelight is short-lived. But the void is promptly filled by puppets Peppa and George, who clash cymbals in time to Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ from Peer Gynt – a nicety that is somewhat lost on the small spectators, who nevertheless appreciate the “great big crash” generated by the sibling swine.
The whistle-stop tour of the classics continues with Villa-Lobos’s The Little Train of the Caipira, which provides young train enthusiasts an opportunity to chug and choo out loud and offers Grandpa Pig and the aforementioned Gertrude the perfect occasion to chunter across the stage and back again.
An old-young favourite – ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ – receives a warm welcome, as does the re-emergence of Daddy Pig who offers to conduct the orchestra. His attempt is confounded by the appearance of a large puppet bumblebee accompanied by the Rimsky-Korsakov classic. Mummy Pig promptly takes over.
The most successful narrative part of the show is the ‘Storm Movement’ from Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, which leads rather neatly to a rendition of Peppa Pig singing ‘Rainbow, Rainbow’ before a rousing chorus of: ‘We love to jump in muddy puddles’.
At some point ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ is played to a grateful audience only too eager to join in. The show is at its best when playing young favourites. More could be made of the lighting arrangements, which are dull and unimaginative, but this should be a relatively easy fix. The orchestra plays beautifully. The Pig family are firm favourites and reassuringly on brand. Peppa Pig: My First Concert is perhaps best described as an unfinished symphony that hits many of the right notes.
- Sam Getz by his parents
- Musical interactive show
- Age Recommendation: Suitable for ages 2 years +
- 15th anniversary of the TV series in the UK and Australia.
- This year marks the 15th anniversary of Peppa Pig Live.
- Southbank Sinfonia
- Photos by Dan Tsantilis
- Venue: Royal Festival Hall
- Tme: 2:00 p.m.