Bluey's Big Play

"You’d be 'pawsitively' silly to miss this incredible piece of family entertainment!"

The Southbank Centre is currently home to the Heeler family - a small but mighty band of Australian doggos that dance, laugh, and love their way through life's adventures. In ‘Bluey’s Big Play’ we are taken on one of these adventures, with the two girls Bluey and Bingo leading the way. Their fun and games are facilitated by some brilliant puppeteers, all of whom filled their roles so swift and smoothly it's almost impossible to pick a standout performer, however Laura Hyde was particularly mesmerising. 

Watching this show, it is clear why Rosemary Myers is now a multiple-award-winning director; she conducts everyone on stage so beautifully that the hour goes by in a flash, yet it feels like we have spent a whole day with the characters! 

Some of this credit, however, must go to Dom Pickett for the upkeep of all the incredible puppets. There is no maximum age on this show, and it really was delightful to see all kinds of people in the auditorium, especially as everyone's eyes lit up equally bright when the animatronics were brought to life. One notable difference here, is that these are not actors inside large costumes assisted by people and props to seem realistic and relatable - they are independent and fully functioning figures. This is what allows the characters their distinct personality and is totally unique to most other franchise stage shows! 

As with every episode of Bluey, the music and moral message are the two most important elements so, while Joe Brumm and Joff Bush manage to avoid replicating any of the stories we’ve already seen on TV, they do translate the brilliant feeling they create onto the stage. This said, there are also some nods to our firm favourites like ‘Grannies’ and ‘Chattermax’ which are done so well and really connect the digital and live media together - demonstrating how our treasured characters can be as cool, caring, and brave in person as they are on our screens. 

Jonathon Oxlade assists with that sensation through his fantastic set and scenery, transporting us into Bluey’s world, rather than relying on what is often a staple with children’s theatre, and bringing the cartoon into our world. This is lovely for both adults and their little ones as things can be pretty scary in the real world right now, so this show was such a nice escape from that, only made even better by this designer's calming colour palette and spectacular sensory elements.

The same can be applied to Richard Dinnen’s lighting, which takes us from pondering to partying and back again. It is the key which makes the show so immersive and joyful, and you absolutely cannot fault it! 

There is also a plethora of online resources available before you visit the theatre, including a character breakdown, story synopsis, and Christmas Countdown Calendar! These provide extra magic that you can enjoy before the show, or take it home afterwards with you - and the same goes for the adorable merchandise on sale! 

Playing at The Royal Festival Hall here in London for another few weeks before embarking on the rest of their UK tour, you’d be pawsitively silly to miss this incredible piece of family entertainment! 

This show was reviewed on the 21st December 2023.  Running until the 7th January 2024, tickets can be purchased here: Bluey’s Big Play (southbankcentre.co.uk)

Full touring details can be found here: Tour Dates - Official Bluey Events Website

Review written by Katie McConnell

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Photo credit: Mark Senior

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