by Sarah Cope
Peppa Pig is a hugely popular Channel 5 cartoon, and the character is so marketable that she now
has a whole world dedicated to her in Hampshire. My four-year-old daughter entered a competition to win tickets to this pig-themed world though fortunately she didn’t win. However, instead we thought we’d catch the infamous pig’s stage show instead, which handily didn’t involve leaving London.
Although enchanting to children, it is hard to see what exactly is the appeal of Peppa Pig. The stories are largely uneventful, and Peppa Pig and her family have a uniquely annoying habit of chuckling,very regularly, for absolutely no reason. Watch an episode of the programme and you’ll see what I mean… or perhaps simply take my word for it.
The cartoon, however, transfers well on to the stage, with puppeteers in black clothing working small but adequately visible puppets of all the main characters. The plot revolves around a hunt for hidden treasure and includes a handy map-reading lesson along the way. Plenty of catchy songs and audience participation meant that most of the children present remained engaged, although the interval did disrupt concentration and I noticed it took some of the kids a while to re-focus when the second half commenced.
One very positive element of Peppa Pig is that, unlike many kids’ TV programme, it does go some way to challenge gender stereotypes. Step in the workaholic Miss Rabbit, who not only drives the bus, but also drives a train, flies a hot air balloon and sails a boat. When Peppa marvels at this character’s immense versatility, Miss Rabbit merely states, “I do have more than one job you know, Peppa!”