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5.11.11

First Theatre Experience (and Numberjacks Live roundup)

So yesterday Charles experienced his first theatre trip. I posted previously about my excitement and nervousness.
As soon as we arrived and headed towards our seats I realised we were sat next to a friend of mine...who also happens to be my French teacher from High School. Immediately I felt comfort that if Charles was to play up I wouldn't be so highly judged.
Charles sat on his seat and concentrated on drinking his Fruit Shoot and I caught up with my friend.
Charles then decided he wanted to sit on my lap, which I didn't mind. Those theatre seats can be quite heavy and he's just a tiny boy so hardly has any weight to keep it down, besides I wasn't going to turn down those extra cuddles.

There were numbers 1-6 on the stage. Just foam (?) numbers which would come up to your knees. The Numbertaker came on and took away Number 4.
Charles did not like this and proceeding to shout "Bring it back. Bring it back" whilst holding back tears. A simple fib of telling him the man had taken the number to the toilet seemed to calm the situation.

I don't want to ruin the story for anyone but sadly have to report that there wasn't much of a story.
I expected it to be almost like the TV show, heavily featuring the Numberjacks at least, but found it to be too focused on two adults who seemed to be auditioning for a Disney show! I am a fan of over-acting in the right show and where needed but this was a different level. I also cannot stand children being patronised by adults and found this happening. It seriously made me cringe.
The only Numberjacks that came onto stage was Number 4, Number 3 (sort of, a lady burst out of the costume and proceeded to overact to extreme proportions. So much so that I had to not look at her for fear of making eye contact and her realising how unimpressed I was) and Number 1.
These numbers didn't talk, other than the human version of number 3, which I also found frustrating because they do in the programme.

There was no flow to the story, and at times just seemed to be rushed and involved the 3 adults just shouting over each other.
It was very 'mishmashed' and at times I couldn't even follow what was going on. It was almost like there was no script and they were making it up as they went along.
At times it seemed that the adults just wanted to stand on a stage and throw themselves around. I looked at Charles and even he seemed confused by it all so I tried to encourage some emotions in him by saying "oh look at that lady dancing, that's funny isn't it".
Other Numberjacks featured briefly on a big screen.

And something which annoyed me the most, the quality of the costumes and props. The foam numbers were battered and dented. Now I realise these items are transported from town to town and will have the odd knock but, to me, these looked like they weren't looked after at all. And when 'Number 4' turned round the costume was really quite dirty at the back. Again I realise about transportation but this character doesn't lay on the floor at all or rub against a wall so the dirty-ness surely occurs when in transit. I'm sure this could be avoided, or even a quick sponge clean would've got rid of the marks.

Now, I realise this is aimed at children and, ok they may not notice these issues I've addressed, but paying £10 for my son to see this show I expect it to have a proper story and to have clean costumes and almost immaculate props.
As well as this we paid £12 for my seat, so I don't feel it unreasonable that I also expected to be entertained.

I *think* Charles enjoyed it. He wanted more when it finished and told his daddy about it when we were picked up.
He wasn't disappointed as such but I do think though that he expected to see more of the Numberjacks and the evil characters too.
There was an interval 30 minutes in and I personally don't think this was necessary and found a lot of the children became impatient and agitated. It was hard for some of us to distract our children and make them realise there was more to come.

Aside from this it was great to spend time with Charles and for him to experience the theatre for the first time.
He says he had fun, which is what counts and he got a free poster at the end which made him happy!