Hey Duggee The Live Theatre Show has opened for Christmas at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
The hit CBeebies show runs at the Royal Festival Hall until 8 January 2023.
Hey Duggee star Benedict Hastings (Zog, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Wolf Hall) as the loveable TV character Duggee and the show’s narrator, alongside the Squirrels played by Jane Crawshaw as Norrie (Doctor Dolittle), Kaidyn Niall Hinds as Happy (Marty And The Party), Clarke Joseph-Edwards as Roly (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Vinnie Monachello as Tag (Bedknobs And Broomsticks), and Sarah Palmer as Betty (Oi Frog & Friends! Live); and Lunga Anele-Skosana (The Witches) as Mrs Weaver, Hennie, Chew Chew and more, with understudies including Charlie Daniells (His Dark Materials), Elliott Samuels and Shakira Alleyne.
The show has been adapted for the stage by Vikki Stone and Matthew Xia, with Vikki as musical supervisor for the production and Matthew as director. The creative team also includes Puppet designer/puppetry director Yvonne Stone, puppet co-designer Daisy Beattie, lighting designer Ciarán Cunningham, set and costume designer Jacqueline Trousdale, projection designer George Reeve, sound designer Rob Bettle, choreographer Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe and associate director Helena Middleton.
This new play is packed with non-stop fun, laughs, singing and dancing for children, brought to life through puppetry and storytelling.
Check out reviews for Hey Duggee, below.
More reviews to follow.
Hey Duggee reviews
"Hey Duggee on stage proves a delight - though if you're over 30 you will feel like you're on drugs"
"This Festival Hall extravaganza, based on the BBC show, is an eccentric delight"
"This cleverly devised and energetically staged production offers children an opportunity to spend an hour as a member of the Squirrels, the canine scoutmaster’s multi-species charges."
"Singing, costume-making, choreography and a cappella performance are all covered – as are, more randomly, egg-collecting and space travel. The combination of these half-dozen activities will make anyone under the age of six feel like they’re in a real-life version of the Hey Duggee cartoon, and anyone over 30 feel like they have ingested a dangerous quantity of hallucinogenic drugs."
"It’s impressive just how diligently many of the series’ little signature quirks have been captured: the quick cuts between shots of the Squirrels hard at work on their badges are replicated with spotlights, for instance. And while some of the activities are simpler than others, there are moments of real spectacle here that would make the show ideal for a memorable first theatre trip."
"The seminal TV series is transported to the stage"
"The fast-changing nature of the programme is hard to capture live, but Matthew Xia and Vikki Stone's adaptation does a good job of referencing some of the series' highlights (including the legendary stick song – more of that in a moment), while providing a multi-badge narrative to knit it all together."
"If it all sounds like a fever dream it's because that's exactly what it is. But in amongst the madness there are some highly skilled performances, which are more than a match for their on-screen counterparts."
"When stage adaptations of children's TV favourites are ten-a-penny, it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Hey Duggee Live delivers, not least because it feels like it has come from a place of genuine love for the original."
"Isn’t it time for a breakdancing canine caper?"
"The hero of the children’s animated TV series is on top form in a riotous adaptation that gets the squirrels singing and screaming"
"This musical theatre version... bombards your senses from the off with fluorescent colours, high-pitched voices and vibrant songs. I half worry that my fellow critics – Romy, 6, and Teddy, 3 – might spot my bewildered expression and have to shout “keep up Dad!”."
"Perhaps the truest measurement of the show’s appeal is the fact that both kids spend the show dancing, singing and screaming at the various characters. And that when the lights go up there are various badges stuck to their jumpers, chairs and faces. Awoof! Well done squirrels, you’ve earned your Critic Badges!"
"Theatre badges all round for this ebullient first live outing for Duggee and the Squirrels"
"While creator Grant Orchard isn’t involved in ‘Hey Duggee: The Live Theatre Show’, I assume he has enough clout to stop something totally naff being done to his baby. Most hearteningly, there are some pretty heavyweight theatre names involved: director Matthew Xia and writer Vikki Stone are not ones to phone it in."
"What Xia and Stone haven’t done is surrender to the show’s more outré moments and sling together a totally out-there entertainment. What they have done is craft it with skill and care – a quality piece of family entertainment that makes smart use of beloved moments of eccentricity from the show."
"... make no mistake, this is a joyous piece of family entertainment that truly understands its subject. Theatre badges all round!"