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Is it this time of the year again? We always look forward to the festive pantomime of the year. This year – The Orchard Theatre Dartford presented “Aladdin”. When I saw that Marti Pellow will be starring, I knew we won’t be let down. We booked our tickets and started the count down.

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The theatre seats were packed, no wonder given the cast, Ricky K, David Robbins to count a few. I was looking forward to the singing of Marti Pellow, who has achieved some of the UK’s biggest number one singles.

Straight from the beginning the show was full of magical moments. The kids were engulfed by jolly music, colourful characters of goodies and baddies. The nine year old, the four year old and the baby were all mesmerised. We didn’t feel two hours pass! The props were fantastic, one feels that a lot of money and creative thinking was put into the process of production. The jokes Ricky K, acting as Wishee Washee was throwing at audience, had us in stitches. The tongue twisters, they were saying with Marty Pellow, were long. We could not believe they could pronounce such long tongue twister sentences in one breath. We tried to say out couple of those, we could only get couple of words, let alone sentences.

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The “Aladdin” panto was in my opinion very well staged. There were lots of connotations of it coming from famous “1001 nights”. The famous compilations of tales created in Asia and travelled through the Great Silk road. Thus it hit home for us. We were really glad to understand and recognise the costumes, the storyline. I was proud to say to my children, that “1001 nights” consisted of more than 260 tales. It is more than “Chronicles of Narnia”, “The Lord of the Rings” and Harry Potter books combined! There is a fascinating fact for my bookworms! The costumes the dances ranged from China, Russia, Egypt and more. This was one of the best family time spent together. Ricky K’s humour, David Robbins’ colourful costumes and wigs were a highlight of the show too. We enjoyed singing together, recognizing the top hits and dancing together. We were belly laughing to the jokes and adults enjoyed the subtler ones. The show included the audience from start to finish, so there was plenty a chance to participate. The 3D effects were a great bonus in the second part of the show and made the trip on a flying carpet realistic. This was one of the best family time spent together.

“Aladdin” gets all of the five starts from us!

 

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It is hard knock life!

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I took my 10-year-old daughter to this musical. Before coming we watched the movie together and we were singing the songs from it for days. We could not wait for the day to come and see the musical. Finally, the day arrived. We left the younger siblings with their dad and off we went on a mother-daughter date. Upon arrival the theatre was buzzing, lots of girls came dressed as Annie. The excitement in the air could be felt easily.

It started in the flat of Miss Hannigan, old 30s style rather tatty decor. The girls who were preparing to go to bed – were in rags too. After being told off by Miss Hannigan the first song “It’s hard knock life” came. We were taken how the young girls could sing such high notes. We could feel their anger and disappointment. Craig Revel Horwood was barely recognisable under his make up, but boy was he good!? After seeing him being a judge in “Strictly come dancing” for years, I wanted to see him on stage. This dream came true and he delivered on it! I didn’t know he could sing, act as well as he dances- he was  flawless.

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As the scene is set in the 1930s, all of the actors were wearing beautiful clothes from those times and embalming our hearts with exceptionally choreographed dances/ songs. We both liked their costumes, their moves and we sang along together the songs. We laughed, we cried, we enjoyed the whole show. The homeless of Hooverville saddened us. But the moment Annie met her dog, the whole audience melted. The songs and the dances of “NYC” were personally one of my favourite ones.  This musical has two parts of one hour with one intermission in the middle. But it is so engulfing we have not felt how an hour went when first curtains drew. We quickly grabbed our drinks, as we didn’t want to be late for the second part.

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The second part, where one gets to see the president Franklin D Roosevelt. His cabinet and how optimism helped overcome what was an economic disaster. This staying optimist was one of the key messages that my daughter liked. I hope she keeps this and looks at a brighter side of things. I thought I may sing the song “Tomorrow” whenever she starts to get overwhelmed.

“Annie” is a must-see musical for every child that complains about their lives nowadays. This musical was originally written about the Great Depression. How the US’s banking system collapse lead to millions of people being left on the streets, starving, resulting in numerous orphans. Annie was one of them. Today’s interpretation makes one think of what’s happening in the world, how a refugee would feel abroad left without any relatives or parents. Thus, this musical opens one’s eyes to the emotional and psychological turmoils of a struggling young person. Who is facing those hardships due to political instability in his/her country. My ten-year-old was in tears, she said she was sorry for all the irrational drama and that she appreciates, even more, everything she has. Besides the song “You’re never fully dressed without a smile” is another good one remember. As a smile can save the world.

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It is amazing the number of songs, music, dances and text the cast had to learn to perform in this musical. One can see and feel their professionalism, dedication, military work done behind to achieve such a pristine show. It received standing ovations at the end. We both loved it, came out inspired, singing the songs and retained the message of being positive and appreciative of everything we have.

A brilliant musical about a young orphan girl with optimistic views, which led her to a bright future.

“Annie” the musical gets 5*s from us!

Jill Murphy’s
The Worst Witch

Do you have a key stage 2 child? Then you have definitely heard or seen numerous episodes of the TV series “Worst Witch on CBBC.

My child even lent a book from our local library and read it several times. When I said the play of “Worst Witch” is coming to Orchard theatre, she was elated!

Long before Harry Potter there was Mildred Hubble. An ordinary girl who found herself in an
extraordinary place: a school for witches.

Now in her final year, accident prone Mildred and
her fellow pupils are about to embark on their biggest and most important adventure yet…

Jealous Ethel Hallow is always out to spoil Mildred’s fun. Miss Hardbroom is opposed to all
fun in general. And just as Mildred sparks some inevitable mayhem certain to upset them
both, an old enemy returns with a plan for revenge that could threaten not just the Academy,
but the whole world.

Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch stories have sold more than five million copies worldwide
and been made into numerous films and TV series.

Featuring all of Jill Murphy’s beloved characters, this thrilling new stage adaptation is
directed by Theresa Heskins (2017 UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and
Young People) and features original songs, music, magic and a dose of Mildred’s unique
brand of utter pandemonium!

We particularly liked the postive message it gives to children:

  • to keep percevering no matter what background you are from;
  • to cheeish and keep good friendships;
  • to work as a team and
  • the power of being a unity.

The magical parts, the pyrotechnics, the fun, the humour, the music and songs gave the show an unforgettable atmosphere.

We were charged with positivity after the play! Go on and be ready to fall under a spell of this benificial to all family play.

Jill Murphy’s – The Worst Witch

A new play by Emma Reeves, Directed by Theresa Heskins

Photo by Idil Sukan/Draw HQ

The Worst Witch is the story of an ordinary girl who finds herself in an extraordinary place: a school for witches. Now in her final year, accident-prone Mildred Hubble and her fellow pupils leave a trail of mayhem behind them as they find themselves at the centre of a battle that’s being fought for their future.  

Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch stories have sold more than five million copies and been made into films and TV series by HBO, ITV and CBBC.

Winner of the Royal Television Society Award for Best Children’s Television Programme, and of the 2017 British Screenwriters Award for Best Children’s Programme for the television adaptations of The Worst Witch, Emma Reeves’ screen writing credits include Eve, The Dumping Ground, Young Dracula and The Story of Tracy Beaker. Her stage work includes the Olivier Award-nominated and critically acclaimed adaptation of Hetty Feather (UK tour and West End).

The show will be at The Orchard Theatre from Wednesday 27 February – Sunday 3 March 2019.

To book tickets or for more information visit orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the Ticket Office on 01322 220000.

We are now running a competition to win the tickets to the show at Orchard theatre.

To be able to participate in the competition simply answer the following question:

 

“What is the name of the ordinary girl, who finds herself in a witching school?”

 

The competition closes on midday 25.02.2019
The winner will be chosen at random and contacted to organise the tickets.

If we don’t hear from the winner, we will draw again.

Somewhere between long grass and flowers there is a magical Little Kingdom. The chirping birds and fluttering butterflies only, know that- it is a magical kingdom. A kingdom where a fairy princess Holly and her friend Ben- the elf live.

Every little child who have seen this cartoons are mesmerised by their magical adventures. So, today I had a chance to take my four year old and five months old to the live show.

The theatre was buzzing. By the time we arrived there, most of the parents perused the gift shop- to kit out their little fairies or elves. My lot had to have the spinning light wheel. We have made our way to our places, thanks to the staff who were pointing to our seats, it was easy to find. The audience young and not so young was very excited. The show has started and everybody was sucked right into it.

It is fun, full of surprises, lots of magic, singing and dancing. Numerous jokes, games and dances were with audience participation too. We have not seen how the time went and the first part ended.

We made our way to baby change, which was clean and comfy for both mother and child. Right when we were done, the bells were ringing for the second act.

The second part was even more exciting. As the kids got to see a tooth fairy, a magical kingdom’s birthday party preparations and more.

The kids were singing the songs in the car all the way home. I will be using the last song to prevent a tantrum. That good a tool, I gained today. Talk about winning at parenting, bringing the children to their favourite show and gaining a tool to save ourselves from some toddler drama!

All in all, both kids and I enjoyed the show. I think the length of the acts are perfect for young theatre goers. And it is full of interesting twists to keep them in their seats! It gets five stars from us!

Motherhood

Worry.

It’s past 2 a.m. I am awake because I am watching my baby. My three months old baby has a cold. It gives me anxiety that she might not be able to breathe. So here I am drifting in and out of sleep every twenty minutes . At the same time I am goinf into my two elder children’s room, as they are coughing too. Am I thinking of myself? No. I get comfort in knowing they are all fine, despite having touch of cold.

Bliss.

I came into the bathroom. I see tbe squashed tooth paste tubes and their colourful character toothbrushes. It’s amazing how different they are snd they like totally dissimilar things. I find it cute, a warm feeling takes over mt heart. MY children chose and used these. Prior to having kids my bathroom may have been spotless and full of luxury skincare, I think to myself, but now it is an area of happy memory making. The splashing, bubbly baths, the steamy dreamy venue for their snuffle noses- to count a few. Ah yes, I make a mental note, I need to change that soaking bath mat and give the bathroom a good sctib before another splishy splashy bath galore.

Cuddles.

The best thing about having little people at HOME? It is them who make a house a home. Their cuddles are filled with snots, dirty hands, sticky faces (did they find the sweet stash?). But these are tge best cuddles in the world. Priceless. As you hug each and every one of them, you feel their love, joy, energy for life. This alone gives you purpose of life, recharges your batteries. I look forward to cuddles, I can’t wait for those little arms spread and running towards me for a hug. A hug cures all at their tender age. I don’t know when us adults, we forget about the magical qualities of a HUG.

Emotions.

You notice how these children are growing. They start to have big emotions. At times it is quite difficult to handle them. I try to control mtself, try to be patient to help them to get the knowledge of their own emotions. So they know tgat it us normal to be angry, frustrated, dissapointed, happy, joyful, proud, let down and more. It us all part of growing up. The fpur year old became argumentative for a reason. She started to face more of those at school, she is finding it hard to control them. Us parents come to rescue, to listen to their little worries, to encourage them while trying to ignore the banging headache you got from a sleepless night. The nine year old started to change a lot, you see the glimpse of an adultshe us becoming. You try to gang on to that childhood worries she came to you with, comforting her. This comforts you too, for now she needs you. As much as your three months old baby. Oh sge woke up for a feed. Ah the joys of breastfeeding. Love you all my children. And when the eldest asked me, if I would do it again, giving up my glitzy career for them, yes, sweetheart in a heartbeet!

Teletubbies Live

Attention! Attention!

Cbeebies’s favourite show from our childhood, The Teletubbies’ first ever theatre show created especially for your little ones is here!

Join Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po in a show full of love and laughter as they explore the magical world of Teletubbyland. Look out for the Tubby Phone, Noo-noo and the Sun Baby in a fun, bright and safe world which captures young children’s imaginations and encourages them to explore the world around them. Join in and enjoy beloved features from the TV series along with brand new songs.

Running time:

Act 1: 30 minutes

Interval 20 minutes Act 2: 20 minutes

Total 1 hour 20 minutes

So with these baby friendly times the “Teletubbies live” is perfect for babies of 6 months and older! I mean they say it is up to 4 years old, but to be frank, I want to see it myself – getting a chance of reminiscing the happy childhood memories.

The show will be running on the 22nd and 23rd of August 2018 at Orchard Theatre. There are 10 am and 1pm shows. Click here to book your tickets, before they will be sold off.