“Come for Peppa, stay for the music, take with you memories of one of the best wee puppet shows you’ll be seeing in Edinburgh this year since those chaps who do that thing aren’t in town.”
Whether you’re a Prime Minister under pressure, or a parent at the end of their tether, you can ALWAYS rely on Peppa Pig to come to the rescue. Years and years ago, in November last year, the soon to be no longer current PM tangentially referenced the British cultural phenomenon as he struggled with speech notes at the CBI. And why not? Since 2004 millions of families in over 180 countries have tuned into the lives of the anthropomorphic cartoon character, her friends, and relations. It’s hard to tell who’s the bigger deal this EdFringe, Peppa Pig or Sir Ian McGandolf.
If they gave out awards to front-of-house staff, this team of red-shirted heroes would take them all. They must have been specially recruited for having the patience of saints. Assembly Hall, where once the Scottish Parliament first remet, is an awkward enough venue without the addition of more buggies and strollers than if Mammas and Pappas had a baby with Mothercare. But for all the logistical nightmares, a mini-orchestral recital in that grand auld space is a dream. And this is first, if not entirely foremost, a classical music concert.
As we take our seats we are serenaded by one of the three violins and the horn – the horn won. The master of ceremonies is Sarah, who’s definitely had her coffee this morning. She introduces the musicians, each dressed for a night on the tiles with Fred and Ginger. They are a youngish bunch, technically – so far as I am any judge – flawless, as well as being engaging (if not natural) performers. A few year’s back ‘Paddington Bear’s First Concert’ (a similar concept) deliberately brought a cast fresh-faced enough that the older children in the audience could identify with them and imagine themselves making a life in music. I’d have liked to have seen more of an effort to get the kids thinking about music as something they might like to do and not simply something they might also like to watch.
The other occupants of the stage require no introduction. They are Peppa, her mummy and daddy, as well as George, her younger brother. The big thing that this show has which the Paddington incarnation did not is the inclusion of the headliners on stage. Peppa and George are superbly designed and beautifully articulated puppets. Mummy and Daddy Pig are full-sized costumes worn from the inside (although, come to think of it, I don’t suppose anyone has ever worn a costume from the outside). Come for Peppa, stay for the music, take with you memories of one of the best wee puppet shows you’ll be seeing in Edinburgh this year since those two chaps who do that thing aren’t in town.
Daughter 1.0 (7yrs) is a moderate to medium Peppa Pig fan. It’s definitely a show she and Daughter 2.0 (4yrs) can compromise on when they haven’t remembered Bluey. Daughter 2.0, the outgoing one, was very much taken with the puppets, especially her favorite George, “I liked the bit where George and Peppa was dancing and jumping up and down.” Daughter 1.0 had this to say in her notebook:
“In peppa pig’s first consert they had an orcestra wich peppa pig called an ‘orcitrala’ the person who intraducsed every one is called “Sarah!” There was costumes for Mummy pig and Daddy pig. As peppa and Gorge there were pepole behind the puppets that made them move and said what they were ment to say. The songs were not reconisable but I thawt they were very interesting. Daddy pig got jam on his fingers! And a bea folued him while he was conducting! It was sooo funny. In the end mummy pig did it. insted and they all did it beatifuly. I loved it!”
The bee was definitely one of my own favourite parts of this funny and engaging insight into the world of concerts and classical music pitched as perfectly as Shane Warne’s first ever delivery at Lord’s. This is a highly accomplished live performance that could teach Sir Ian McGandolf a stage trick or two. You gets your money’s worth and then some. You might even say ‘Peppa Pig – My First Concert’ brings home the bacon.