I had my hands full last Thursday as the Johnson Babies decided they'd like nothing more in the whole world than to spend a morning with Peppa Pig and her friends.
Peppa Pig is a bit of a staple in our home. Other programmes come and go but Peppa is one that I can rely on when necessary for any quick phone calls or a teeny bit of housework (it's never more than teeny!).
The opportunity to see Peppa Pig's Big Splash at the New Theatre wasn't to be missed and the children were on tenderhooks with excitement during the drive into Cardiff. Well behaved until entering the theatre was all I could really wish for.
The merchandise. The price of merchandise. And the non-escape of merchandise.
I often read about the arts wanting to make the theatre more accessible. That theatres in London sell a number of tickets at a more accessible price. And for me, productions like Peppa Pig Live are absolutely fantastic at making theatre a conversion, and for theatres to take that audience and grow their imagination with other performances.
So why, when tickets are expensive, tempt children with merchandise instead of programmes (I collect programmes from everything I've been to see). And why, when I manage to get three children past the foyer and its temptations in tact do I then sit down to get them comfortable to find that the merchandise is on sale inside the theatre as well.
Of course I gave in. I couldn't cope with the demands. And with three children it is one of my biggest give-in's that I regret. My empty purse.
Because of course ice-cream in the interval really was out of the question. So many poor people had to listen to a child's tantrum for near enough the duration of the interval.
Don't do it. Keep the merchandise in the foyer and leave the theatre for the enjoyment of the production.
The boys were amazing (of course).
They sat back in the chairs and just took it all in.
They loved that all their recognisable characters were there.
And they loved the fun.
And watched everyone getting involved.
Including their sister.
Who was so excited to join in with the interaction, the singing, the shouting and the dancing.
All their favourite characters played a fantastic role.
The puppeteers made their characters come to life and believable to so many who have just seen them on the television.
And the audience interaction meant you knew this was more than watching the stage as a tv. That the stage responded to you and you could change the way the story unfolded (in every single child's head they made a difference!).
My little ones were most excited about seeing Daddy Pig. And it was so good that Daddy Pig did have such a great role to play. It was great that bits and pieces from episodes on the television were incorporated for familiarity.
Crying because it was time to go home (not mine- Phew!)
Loving every moment of Peppa Pig's Big Splash.
My reservations about merchandising would not for a moment mean I would not take my children to see one of their favourite television programmes brought to the stage.
If I had consumed more caffeine I might have been stronger in my own resolve and you live to learn.
I've learned that I am so thankful my children love the theatre.
That my children think I'm the bees knees because they saw Peppa Pig on Stage.
Peppa Pig's Big Splash is currently on tour across the UK check out the website for details.
Disclosure: We received a family ticket to Peppa Pig's Big Splash for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views contained are our own.