The UK’s #1 kids YouTuber has jumped off the network’s screens to bring all the fun onstage. Guillermo Názara tells us about his experience at the opening day of Blippi, The Musical, a family show starring the social media phenomenon character and friends, in their quest to make learning a most magical adventure you don’t want to miss.
Over at our place, we’re sure of just one thing: everybody in the world was once a child. We don’t think of grown-ups, and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget… and that maybe our pictures can help recall. It may not be Disney that’s behind the show we’re reviewing today (believe it or not, the mouse’s monopoly has not got that far… yet), but certainly its founder’s words can relate to such a compelling and ellaborated family piece as Blippi, The Musical.
Despite myself being sort of a childish grownup (I still gorge on children’s cartoons marathons every now and then – meaning I’m watching some now as I’m writing and will keep watching then once I finish this review), I was a bit skeptical about what to expect from a kids musical which is not backed up by a major company and based on a YouTube channel character. To top it all, I was bringing with me a friend who had never seen a West End production in his life, so I was wondering what he’ll be thinking after seeing something for which he was not (apparently) the target audience. Turns out we both exited the venue charmed by the appeal of the show and the cuteness of the viewer’s implication.
We’re not talking about a large scale montage here – after all, it’s just a black backdrop and a screen above to provide with the different settings. And the truth is that I couldn’t help imagining more complete designs to make the experience more visually striking – something that’s always helpful, especially when you’re dealing with young spectators. But does this really stain the show’s quality? Not really. The cast’s powerful and infectous stamina, mixed up with a repertoire of catchy and very well-written educational songs, is more than enough to make this a enjoyable spectacle where we found ourselves having almost so much fun as the little ones were (as it’s impossible to compete with such hardcore fandom, precisely with the ones dressed exactly -beret, glasses, bow-tie, EVERYTHING- as their Internet hero).
With good pace and a wide range of themes dealing with nature, magic and everyday situations, the musical does, by all means, achieve the same goal that made its online counterpart a children sensation: making learning fun. I’m no kid (as I said, only in the outside), but I don’t need to be one to realise how enticing both the lead and the numbers were for them. Eyes on the stage, minds on the show, hands ready to clap and mouths prepared to shout and sing when required for the entire almost one hour and a half performance – that’s definitely another star to the creative team and actors, for accomplishing the roughly impossible task of grasping their attention for such a extended period.
With only two months ahead for family live entertainment to have a boost in the country with the start of panto season, the offer is going to be jammed, and though I would encourage you to watch as much theatre as you can possibly can, I would also advice to keep this one in your list if you need to narrow it down. It’s fun, it’s joyous and the vitality emerging from the interaction between artists and the public will captivate your youngsters and make you feel it’s okay to, as an adult, get rid of grownup prejudice and relish on belting the alphabet our loud or chanting about brushing your teeth. “I believe that children are super smart and they have good intuition”, Blippi’s alter ego, Stevin John once said. And it’s no doubt smart to follow such intuition if they want you to take us to see this musical.
Blippi, The Musical will play at London’s Apollo Theatre until 4 September and at the Lyric Theatre for the Christmas season, starting on 7 December. Tickets for both periods are available on the following link.