Hosted at the Northern Jubilee Auditorium,i the British barnyard phenomenon Peppa Pig ii came to Edmonton in “LIVE” format on April 21st. As much out of anthropological curiosity as a sense of duty to my children or some such, I picked up VIP tix for myself, teh toddler, and two giddier-than-thou in-laws.iii The special tickets included seats within the first ten rows, cookie-cutter swag,iv and meeting “Real Peppa” after the show.v
The show itself was… not terrible! The production quality was exactly on par with the ticket prices. The set design wasn’t up to Phantom levels,vi sure, and nor was the costume design up to Lion King levels, but the price of entry accurately reflected this. Tickets were about half what they’d have been for a traveling Broadway show, so it was far from a let-down on purely value grounds. In fact, the price of entry was entirely worth having my rambunctious little boy sit still on my lap for an hour.
Broken up into two half-hour acts with a 15-minute beer-and-diaper-change interval in the middle, the production itself brought music, singing, dancing, and most importantly, audience interaction to the fore in a way the passive television program never could. To the credit of the writers and performers, this must be acknowledged, even lauded.
The organisation before and after the show was similarly well-thought-out, with the VIP queue moving swiftly and pleasantly, and the after-show “meet-n-greet” similarly orderly and agreeable. In fact, the whole affair was entirely convivial and only enhanced by the over-the-moon beams of joy radiated forth from every pore of the grandparents-in-law for the entire two-and-a-half hours. Niko enjoyed it well enough too, warming up particularly in the second act once he’d assessed the lay of the land. Even if it’s not something he’s going to remember in a few years time, it was still very much worthwhile for the rest of us.
As for the anthropological insights, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that many Louis Vuitton clutches, backpacks, handbags, and purses in one place casually adorning shoulders and sides. A clearer marker of medium richness there ain’t. A few kids were even donning True Religion hoodies and Seven For All Mankind jeans. Also, we were in the distinct minority in not having our beloved mommy in tow. Most of the families were composed of two parents and 1-2 children, though there were a few single moms out as well. Single fathers were the exception, even moreso than the grey haired heads, which could be counted on one hand among the hundred-fifty-odd VIP ticket holders.
Overall, I’d give the whole shebang 4.5 bacon strips out of 5, which is pretty damn kosher in my books.
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- You may recall that the Jube has hosted several other Reviewed-On-Contravex main stage productions including Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Lion King. Obviously enough, it’s the leading venue in town for such traveling shows.
- As far as yours truly has ever been aware, “Peppa Pig” the TV show is primarily popular for being inoffensive, everyday relatable, and vouched for by the British Royal munchkins. It first aired in 2004*, is currently airing its fifth season, and is widely available on YouTube and Netflix, making it a favourite with parents on-the-go, and matched with the little one(s) only by Paw Patrol (at least in this household).
* That most of the episodes harken back to 2004ish is probably why the show is as inoffensive as it is. The Ingsoc / PC cult was relatively tame at that time, at least by 2018 standards. ↩
- The boy’s grandparents – Gramma and Papa Z – were sleepless with anticipation. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, the closest you can come to repaying your parents for raising you right is with grandchildren. ↩
- Namely, lunch boxes! While I couldn’t possibly see what I was going to do with four such tin boxes (one for each ticket holder), I took them anyways at the check-in lady’s suggestion of “regifting” them. Surely I could find a few of Niko’s friends who would be interested. But not so fast! The grandparents-in-law were over-the-moon with their swag, joyously imagining taking their own lunches to work in these cheeky toddler toys. Hey man, whatever floats your boat! Who am I to judge what makes sexagenarians happy ? For all I know, I’ll be into collecting
stampsPGP signatures when I’m that age.
- And meet her we did! As you can see, Peppa came equipped with a 5′-tall black-clad operator touting a high-pitched midlands* accent.
* If you’re a proper expert of British accents, feel free to correct me! My knowledge of British accents is mostly derived from Top Gear, Chris Harris, EVO, CAR, Autocar, Monty Python, QI, Red Dwarf, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Sweeney Todd, and Mr. Bean, as well as exposure to a variety of expats for the last 25 years, and is in no way comprehensive. ↩
- Ok, not by a long shot… Your junior high couldn’t quite get here, but a top-notch high school like Victoria Composite here in Edmonton could very well.