On Sunday we went to Blackheath in London to watch In the Night Garden Live! J has the app on my phone and watches the advert for the show EVERYDAY so when I found out the date that tickets went on sale for 2017 I was straight on the booking page the second it opened (I managed to get a presale spot woohoo).
Buying the tickets was easy (once I made the agonising choice of Pinky Plonk or Ninky Nonk show) and as they were E-Tickets they came as an QR code by email. This made life easier as I couldn’t lose them!
As my regular readers know, J has additional needs. His sensory issues meant I was concerned about the sounds, lights and textures (things like texture of the seating, crowds of people etc). His issues with ‘change’ and things being different were a big concern as I wasn’t sure how he would deal with characters from TV being big and in front of him. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I emailed the booking team.
They were fab. They came up with some great suggestions and reserved seating for us so that we could be on the end (for easy exit) and guaranteed first 3 rows (that way most of the crowd would be behind us so less distraction and the sights and sounds of them being there) AND we got escorted to seats so we didn’t have to wait. By getting in before crowds it meant J could acclimatise to the growing noise and ‘hustle and bustle’ slowly.
We found the venue easily and parking was not a problem. There were signs once you got closer and then you see the dome…which I got a bit over excited about. The car park is huge and easy to get in and out.
We got there early so had a walk around Greenwich Park. It was beautiful and gave J chance to run off some energy from being sat in the car. We headed down about 3.30 (show started at 4). We had plenty of time to get booked in (they just scan your QR code), get drinks and pick up J’s goodie bag (you can preorder these). It wasn’t very busy as they don’t pack people in, so that’s a bonus.
We were escorted in and only a handful of families were there. J instantly recognised that it was ‘ITNG’ and wanted Iggle Piggle so tried to get on the stage to find him. A lovely steward (who must have known what J’s issues were) used hand gestures to gently tell him just to look and not climb up (I will add that my sister was with him-we weren’t just letting him go on a rampage). J’s next job was to do some laps. There’s lots of space and a ‘circuit’ around the seating so off he went multiple times around the dome (again my darling sister accompanied him). Slowly the theatre filled up so we set up ‘base camp’ and got out all the snacks and toys.
When the show started it was magical. It’s JUST like the Tv show. It felt like we had been sucked into the tv! The boat appeared with Iggle Piggle in and you could hear the cheers, astonishment and amazement (and that was just the adults, haha). J’s eyes were so wide and he jumped in excitement. Then Iggle Piggle reached the Night Garden and came on stage fully…J just burst into tears. He was so full of emotion that he just didn’t know what to do with himself. It was a mixture of excitement of it being ‘the real’ Iggle Piggle and scared that he was real and not on the TV. After a big cuddle and seeing the show on the go J calmed down and was full of smiles.
J doesn’t have the longest concentration span and so he did end up on the floor, off on a walk and climbing on me, Daddy and his Auntie! Luckily snacks were a big help and he would sit and eat crisps and his fruit bar.
Every time a new character came on, J’s excitement would renew. He offered his van to Makka Pakka, his PomBears to Upsy Daisy and tried to throw his Tombliboo teddy on stage to show the ‘real’ Tombliboos. It was very cute.
The goodie bag we preordered was soooo helpful. It meant that I had bits I could get out the bag whenever he was struggling, to distract him. He loved the light toy, the Iggle Piggle puppet and Tombliboo soft toy. I’m so glad I ordered it as he now has more visual memories to remember his day.
The best bit for me was that J could be himself. The staff didn’t have any judgemental looks and would smile at J’s little quirks (including J’s need to lay in the floor every time Iggle Piggle fell down). J would play with his cars by driving them along the seat or the floor. He did have a strop as he couldn’t roll them across the stage so did go away to the side of the stage to have some chill out time away from the lights and sounds on the stage.
The seating was surprisingly comfy. There was plenty of space for children to wiggle and move about, and for adults to not be squished. J definitely benefited from being at the front. Children were singing, shouting, jumping and that would have been a big distraction. It was amazing seeing the children (not just J) so into it all. It’s a first taste of theatre that will hopefully stay with them.
If the parents of the boy trying so hard to tell Upsey Daisy and Iggle Piggle to look behind them for the blanket, read this…your little one was adorable.
For the children it was so real! It keeps to the tv show perfectly. The same character songs, counting the Pontipines and then at the end the big dance and bedtime.
When they all went to bed J realised it was coming to the end. Again the emotions hit and he didn’t know how to handle it so he sobbed and tried to throw everything. It was definately not a ‘naughty cry’ it was pure emotion.
We waited around for the crowds to go before we left. We didn’t feel rushed at all, and the steward was taking to us and ‘aw’ing at J. To cheer him up we brought him the two other Tombliboos so he had the set. There was sooo much merchandise that I’d never seen before.
You could also book to have photos with the characters. We didn’t do this as I think J had reached the end of his emotional capabilities and just needed to get outside again. So with his Tombliboos in his arms he ran to the car.
I don’t think I can fault any of the day. I try to be balanced in my reviews and share areas that , in my opinion, could be developed. However I genuinely can’t think of any! Venue was great, cost was reasonable, staff were friendly and the show was amazing. What more could I ask for?
I really hope J still like ITNG next year as we would definately go for another visit.