The Chris and Pui Roadshow, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, on Saturday, September 22, 2012
CHRIS Jarvis and Pui Fan Lee have been stalwarts of the BBC channel for under sixes, CBeebies since its launch in 2002, and worked on pre-school programmes before that (Lee was Po, the red Teletubby); so they are a dead cert when it comes to knowing exactly what makes little people tick.
As a result, their live show - featuring toys and characters from their current CBeebies programme Show Me Show Me - grabs and holds the attention of pre-schoolers for far longer than most theatrical productions. Unusually for a show aimed at very young children, it even had an interval - and yes, the audience did come back for more.
Fast paced, but not terrifyingly loud or colourful, the show crammed in seemingly hundreds of nursery rhymes, songs, counting, charactes and costumes, presented with such tender care by the extremely likeable Jarvis and Lee (or “Show Me and Show Me”, as my two year old calls them) that the concept of two television favourites appearing live on stage in front of them didn’t seem to phase the young audience.
I have a bit of a personal aversion to nursery rhymes, but there’s something so appealing about this twosome that I found myself joining in with the actions to “The Wheels On The Bus” and “Wind The Bobbin Up” with more enthusiasm than I expected; and with plenty of panto-style cheesy jokes thrown in for the grown ups and older siblings who may have come along, I found myself as involved as the little ones.
I’ve seen plenty children’s shows over the years with my son, and with my daughter having the attention span of a gnat, I wasn’t particularly desperate to start it all again too early. However, if the sparkling quality of Jarvis and Lee’s live show rubs off on other productions for pre-schoolers, I’ll be more than happy to brave the theatre with her on a regular basis. She spotted a poster for a live Ben & Holly production on the way out, so I suspect I’ll be back in an auditorium with her before the year is out.
- First published in Newbury Weekly News on October 4, 2012