Author: Helen S
Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday UK Tour
Sarah, Duck and a host of their friends (including an umbrella and some acrobatic shallots) are turned into life size (bigger than life size in Ducks case!) puppets in this enchanting stage adaptation of the television show.
The show itself is an hour and ten, long enough to tell good story but not too long for the toddlers watching it. Said story incorporates some elements from a few episodes, such as the shallots circus routine, umbrellas magic act and Sarah’s firework dance. Sarah discovers that it’s scarf lady’s birthday, and decides to throw a circus themed party with the help of a few friends. But it’s a very windy day, and the fate of the party is uncertain!
It’s a cleverly put together spectacle, with the five on stage puppeteers becoming characters in their own right. They also double as stage crew, moving the blocks of scenery to change Sarah’s house and garden into the penguin enclosure at the zoo and a big top.
The TV show is narrated by the incomparable Roger Allam and he lends his voice talents here too, as do the voice cast including Tasha Lawrence (Sarah) and Downton Abbey’s Lesley Nicol (Scarf Lady)
The stage show has some lovely moments and is just as whimsical and slightly surreal as the television show. Even the staging choices fit in perfectly with the whole spirit of Sarah and Duck. Highlights for me were Moon singing about constellations, scarf lady’s balloon swooping around the set, and the clever construction of the circus big top to song.
It’s recommended for 3-6 years, but my two and a half year old engaged fully for the whole 70 minutes, and at home afterwards stood on a chair stating she was “Sarah on stage” recreating her favourite bits of the show! I’d say if your child is 2+ and a fan of the tv show they will certainly love seeing these characters brought to life.
Sarah and Ducks Big Top Birthday is touring the UK until 3rd June. For info and tickets visit Sarah & Duck events.
The Old Court, Windsor
We saw the show at The Old Court in Windsor, a recently refurbished art space with a small auditorium. The venue hosts a wide variety of entertainment, from music to comedy and plenty in between. The building is Edwardian and has had a busy past as a former Magistrate’s Court, Police and Fire Station.
This was their first venture into children’s theatre, something that was evidenced by their sales of tickets in the back few rows behind a barrier, with restricted view (not disclosed as so on their website) Not really ideal when your audience is mainly under a metre high! The kids in those back few rows (including us) ended up all sitting on the stairs in the gangway in order to see the stage, which was something of a health and safety risk. Hopefully the venue will treat this as a learning experience for future children’s shows.
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