Malvern Theatre, Malvern – until 7 March 2017
Les Petits Theatre Company are currently touring with a stage version of The First Hippo On The Moon which is a number one best selling children’s book by David Walliams. The story takes young readers on a wonderful journey as two hippos race to be the first hippo on the moon. One contender is Hercules, since school days he has become a very rich hippo and has the best rocket to aid him in his mission. He’s a pompous hippopotamus and very self assured. Sheila is the jungle dwelling competitor, she was at school with Hercules and had always wanted to fly to the moon, which Hercules had scoffed at. Sheila is so miffed when she discovers that her classmate has stolen her idea. Her pals club together to try and help to build a rocket. There’s a giraffe, two porcupines called Scratch and Sniff, an ostrich and a wise old gorilla called Silver Bob, who falls asleep at the most inopportune moments. You might think that Sheila is fighting a losing battle with accomplices of this description, but the moral of the story of friendship after all. With audience participation to help with the rocket fuel and a lot of luck on Sheila’s part, her mission is off and flying.
There are plenty of songs to keep the kids interested, ‘Silver Bob’ was my personal favourite, I’m still singing it now! The puppetry is exceptional, it was so easy to ignore the puppeteer in favour of solely watching the puppets themselves. The hippo costume sported by the actor portraying Sheila was inspired too. The props were utilised well and scenery was moved around with slick and polished precision. A talented group of performers for sure who each have many attributes to be admired.
Kids of all ages will love this all singing, dancing and playful production and it’s a fantastic version of Walliams’ popular story.