Theatre Review: Bing Live!, Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Image Source: Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Format: Children’s Show
Genre: Children’s
Date: March 19 2019
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

The popular CBeebies pre-school children’s show Bing is now on tour, and Bing Live! has arrived in Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre with a show that truly captivates its young audience.

All of the colourful characters from the programme are here, in life-sized puppet form as controlled and voiced by the crew. There is Bing of course, the leading character around whom the episodic stories are based. There is Sula, who is a very close friend to Bing and enjoys having fun with him. Then there is Coco, who likes to take charge and provides some order to a situation. Pando tends to be wilder, as he is well-intentioned but tends to cause a bit of chaos. And we also have Flop and Amma, who oversee things and give advice where necessary.

Each of them appear throughout the show, and the plot is essentially one within itself, as Bing and pals are wowed by the experience of being on stage, so much so that they look to put on their own theatre production. They find props, try on costumes, and consider how to create a story which allows Bing to be the hero and with the plan of sending Hoppity Voosh, Bing’s cuddly toy companion, into space in a big finale. There are songs, dances and other amusing moments for the young ‘uns to enjoy.

It is relatively short, at around 30-35 minutes per half along with an interval, and there is always something going on to keep the children entertained. The use of lighting effects also maintains one attention, and there is plenty of merchandise to be collected that can enhance their enjoyment of the performance. What’s more, the audience interaction is crucial, as the central characters are always speaking to the crowd, and getting them to join in by singing or dancing along with the cast.

It’s also a wise decision that not everybody is brought on stage right away, so that the kids are anticipating further magic as the show progresses. Indeed, Pando appears for the first time during the second half, which brings the excitement up to a peak level once again. It was particularly nice to see the kids being completely wowed whenever a major character appeared for the first time (especially Bing); it was heartwarming to see that something as simple as a colourful creature appearing in front of them, in a larger-than-life fashion, can bring such joy to them and smiles to their faces.

On the whole, Bing Live! was a fantastic experience for its target audience, and a show that I would highly recommend for anyone who has children in a similar age group. If you’re looking for a chance to introduce the young ‘uns to a live performance with plenty to keep them engaged and faces that they will immediately recognise, it will be difficult to find a better production than Bing Live!

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect