The live theater show review – isn’t it time for a breakdancing canine hug?

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<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Ian West/PA

I must admit that it took me a while to get into the children’s cartoon Hey Duggee. My brain was so scrambled when fatherhood began that I often gaped at it as the multi-layered writing and clever gags flew above my head. This musical theater version, co-adapted by director Matthew Xia and Vikki Stone, is no different. It bombards your senses from the start with fluorescent colors, high-pitched vocals and vibrant songs. I’m half-afraid that my fellow critics – Romy, 6, and Teddy, 3 – will notice my puzzled expression and be forced to shout “keep it up daddy!”.

Upon entering the theater we are handed sticker sheets with various badges to ‘earn’ as the show progresses (only two sheets, though, for a family of four – what are the kids going to do?).

There’s an A Capella badge, a costume badge, and, uh, an egg badge that all eventually lead to squirrels (not really squirrels but other young animals that attend Duggee’s kindergarten classes – I got you said it was confusing!) to earn their theater badge. Along the way, we get loud music, fashion shows and a breakdancing contest, which brings out some slinky moves from the tall Duggee puppet deftly commandeered by Benedict Hastings. Most impressive is the Space Badge section, in which a rocket cruises through an asteroid belt and gigantic balloon planets are allowed to bounce around the audience (warning: not touching said balloons can induce a three-minute sulk in your child ).

Romy was particularly impressed with the song Step By Step and the dance for the choreography badge, although she said it was frustrating that Hennie the Ostrich kept dropping her eggs on stage when she was supposed to. pick them up (I resist the temptation to say “that was the joke, you wally”). The mid-performance ban on not touching the bouncing planet is silently removed from its consideration.

Related: Matthew Xia: “Hey Duggee is the most political thing I’ve ever done”

As for Teddy, he answers all my questions Hey Duggee smiling and saying “I’m not going to tell you” which frankly shows a complete lack of respect for the unethical strings I had to pull to get my son a theater review gig for the Guardian. Eventually he decides his favorite bit was the “blue and brown elephants”, which isn’t ideal considering we saw the ones going home by bus. Still, he gives it a thoughtful four out of five stars. Romy, meanwhile, asks, “Why can’t I give it seven stars?” And of course, why not, let’s burn off our longtime review criteria for Hey Duggee: The Live Theater Show.

Perhaps the truest measure of the show’s appeal is the fact that the two kids spend the show dancing, singing, and shouting at the various characters. And that when the lights come on, various badges are stuck to their sweaters, chairs, and faces. Phew! Well done squirrels, you’ve earned your reviewer badges!

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